Fight over March speed limit

General View of Wimblington Rd March ANL-151201-150431009
General View of Wimblington Rd March ANL-151201-150431009
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Councillors have pledged to push on with a proposed speed limit reduction in March despite the restriction being branded “unecessary” by police.

March Town Council, with the backing of residents, has been fighting to have the speed limit on Wimblington Road reduced from 40mph to 30mph for around three years.

The busy stretch of road has seen numerous casualties over the years including Dominic Iliffe, 24, and James Kiely, 27, who were killed when they were hit by a van while walking along the road in December 2011.

But Derek Crosby, Cambridgeshire Police traffic management officer, has branded the move as “unnecessary” and says it would likely meet with a formal objection.

In a letter to the town council, he said: “If the current proposal were to be processed further, unacceptable levels of requests for enforcement action on the part of officers is likely to arise.

“Enforcement is not and cannot be a suitable or permanent measure to ensure or encourage compliance.

“To achieve that aim there needs to be associated engineering measures and other than the narrowing/gated feature at the commencement of the current 40mph restriction, there is none, nor does any appear to be proposed.

“It is the assertion of police that what is proposed is onerous, over restrictive and not in keeping with the current highway environment.

“It is considered the current 40mph restriction is suitable and befitting this road and the proposal to reduce the speed restriction is unnecessary.

“It is anticipated that should this matter move to a formal Notice of Intention, the proposal is likely to meet with a formal objection.”

The stance has angered Fenland District councillor Jan French.

She has pushed for the speed reduction alongside Mayor of March, councillor Kit Owen, and Deputy Mayor councillor Rob Skoulding, with fellow councillors and local residents.

Mrs French is particularly incensed as the police originally supported the move.

She said: “We looked into doing this and funding it ourselves and we couldn’t have done this without support from the police.

“We’ve been looking at this for three years now so we’re certainly not going to pull away from it now.”

She said Mr Crosby’s view also doesn’t take into account new national guidance promoting speed limit reductions to improve safety for cyclists.

“It would appear all he has done is a box ticking exercise.

“It’s probable he’s not even a local person – and is not aware of the RTCs (road traffic collisions) and the numerous pets killed on that stretch of road.”

Mrs French said the town council would be discussing the matter at its full meeting on Monday, February 2.

At that meeting she will try to arrange for a public meeting to be held.