CONCERNS have been raised about the safety of the Baron’s Court traffic lights junction after a Freedom of Information request revealed an increase in the number of “serious accidents” at the site.

Local campaigner Ian Perry, formerly of Castle Avenue in Penarth, has warned that research suggests a roundabout would be safer and have greater capacity for vehicles.

He has cited the example of Poynton, in east Cheshire, where a signalised junction had been replaced with two mini roundabouts in a bid to reduce the number of accidents and revive the local town centre.

He has also cited the example of when a car crashed onto the middle of the old Baron’s Court roundabout, warning that if the motorist had gone through a set of traffic lights it could have been a serious accident.

Mr Perry, 42, added that a few years after the roundabout was replaced with traffic lights in 2006 he had researched into the number of accidents at the junction to see what the results were in regards to safety

“Research suggested that the new junction would be less safe than the roundabout,” he said.

“In the five years prior to the work to change the junction, there were no ‘serious accidents’. In the first five years after the new junction was built, there were four accidents that South Wales Police recorded as ‘serious’.

“Collisions recorded as "minor" resulted in a higher number of casualties.”

He added: “I have raised the findings of researchers, and police statistics, many times with the council. However, this has failed to deter them from installing yet more traffic signals, at great expense, that will have ongoing maintenance and operating costs.”

The Vale Council’s operational manager for highways and engineering, Michael Clogg, said: “The decision whether to install traffic signals or a roundabout is considered in detail at feasibility stage and will depend on several factors such as land issues, collision history, pedestrian and cyclist movements, cost, service apparatus and junction capacity.

“ The most advantageous junction arrangement is then selected to suit the site specific characteristics and optimise safe traffic movements.”

He added: “The decision is too complex to make general statements, however, predominantly roundabouts cannot always cater for safe pedestrian and cyclists movements and require additional land purchase which can lead to considerable additional expense and delays.”