A FRIEND of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge has moved to help villagers battling to introduce safety measures on a steep section of road through woodlands following a fatal car crash.

Snape with Thorp Parish Council has received permission in principle from Sir Henry Ropner to place bollards on King’s Keld Bank, near Bedale, after North Yorkshire County Council rejected a call for measures such as speed restrictions, chevrons, double white lines and improved warning signs in a petition featuring 173 signatures.

While there have been three collisions on the bank over the past ten years, residents have been raising concerns about how motorists are suddenly plunged into darkness as they descend the road with overhanging dense woodland on the land bordering Thorp Perrow Arboretum, which boasts one of the largest collections of shrubs and trees in the North of England.

The petition was launched after Petru Leizeriuc, from Snape, near Bedale, died when the black Seat Ibiza he was driving left a the road and hit a tree on the bank last October.

A county council report states the 48-year-old lost control of his vehicle on a bend with no other vehicles involved, but police investigations revealed the driver, who was local to the area and thought to be familiar with the road, was not qualified, did not have a driving licence, was uninsured and inexperienced.

Following an assessment of the site and review of collision records, highways officers concluded it had been an isolated incident and the road condition and features had not contributed to the collision.

However, recommendations to refresh the faded central warning lines near the fatal collision site and provide a slow warning next to the bend were implemented.

As the petition had below 500 signatures the county council’s rules mean it was not automatically referred to the area constituency committee for debate and senior officers and leading councillors are able to decide on how to deal with it.

As the local highway authority, the council has a statutory duty to reduce the number and severity of collisions on its roads, but prioritises its collision investigation and prevention budget at sites with the highest volume of crashes.

The council said while there was a “lack of merit for further investment” for road safety measures from the authority, it was “noted that further improvements could be made on this section of highway” which the parish council could fund if it wished.

Nevertheless, the county council has offered to provide officer time and support in developing and delivering an acceptable scheme and the parish council said it had received a “positive response” had from Thorpe Perrow owner Sir Henry Ropner over installing safety measures.

The parish council and Sir Henry are understood to have formed an agreement in principle, subject to the provision of further details on the type of safety features to be installed.