NOISELESS crossings will make Southend’s revamped Victoria Circus a danger for some disabled pedestrians, a campaigner claims.

Jill Allen-King, secretary of the Southend branch of the Federation of the Blind, says the decision to go without audible signals – the beeps which accompany a “green man” light – will cause huge problems.

She said: “It will make it extremely dangerous. Those audible signals are the main tool used by a lot of partially-sighted people to cross the road. Without them, it will make it very difficult.”

The new Victoria Circus junction is due to be completed within the next fortnight. The £25million scheme to reduce congestion along the town’s main commuter routes is based upon a “smart” computer system, which co-ordinates traffic light changes at Progress Road, Cuckoo Corner and Victoria Circus to improve the flow of traffic.

Southend Council says it is impossible to install audible signals at the junction because they require a “red phase” – all of the traffic lights turning red at the same time – to ensure pedestrians are not confused about which crossing is safe.

Project manager Lorraine Butler said: “There is no red phase at the junction because this would increase the delay to traffic and present less opportunity for pedestrians to cross. We have agreed to review the crossing arrangements to do as much as possible to help the blind and visually-impaired.”

Instead of the beeps, the council intends to include tactile cones – devices near crossing control buttons which are designed to be felt and rotate when it is safe to step out into the road.

However, Mrs Allen-King insisted the audible signals should be installed at Victoria Circus.

She said: “Only one person can feel a cone at any one time. They’re supposed to be used alongside audible signals for deaf people, not instead of them.”