KING’S LYNN: Alarm as Mart stewards are defied by driver

A driver ignoring a pedestrian crossing during the first 48 hours of the Mart has prompted further calls to close Lynn town centre to traffic during the funfair.

Marshals manning a controlled crossing point in Tuesday Market Place was one of a number of safety measures introduced in the wake of Rio Bell’s death during last year’s event.

Three-year-old Rio died after being involved in a collision with a car in King Street. The driver was later cleared of any blame.

But the stewards are reporting that a driver had failed to stop several times over Thursday and Friday last week.

Now Paul Macey, who held Rio’s hand in the minutes after the accident, is again calling for Tuesday Market Place to be sealed off during the event to prevent further tragedies.

He said: “If this was working perfectly then I would have to back down a little bit.

“But it is not working as effectively as the council thought if they have had to take down registration plates and had to tell others to keep their speed down.

“It reinforces my initial calls that the road has to be closed if some drivers are not going to abide by what’s there.

“It is important that people realise that the marshals are there to do the best job they can.”

More than 5,000 people signed a petition calling for the market place to be closed to traffic during the Mart following the tragedy.

Last autumn, West Norfolk Council agreed to reduce the length of the fair opening from the traditional two weeks to eight or nine days, along with the introduction of extra barriers and the crossing stewards. Three marshals, including a supervisor, are helping pedestrians to cross the road near The Globe during the fair’s opening hours.

Council leader Nick Daubney said there will be a review of health and safety after this year’s event.

He said: “It is an irresponsible thing for any motorist to ignore safety signals from an authorised official.

“There is always going to be a challenge in staging the Mart in the town centre like this and we review it every year and take special notice of these procedures.”

Lynn police say they are expecting a report, including registration details, from the marshals at the end of the event.

Police do not know at this time what and if any action will be taken against the driver.

Flowers have been laid on bollards in King Street this week to mark the anniversary of Rio’s death.