High Road speed problems

OVER a number of years, Guyhirn residents have asked for the speed limit to be reduced to 30mph on High Road, with 20mph outside the school.

In 2003, the county council agreed to reduce the limit to 30mph but it never happened. High Road has high volumes of traffic, as seen during recent Speedwatch sessions, where on one occasion there were 167 vehicles going down one side of the road in an hour. One vehicle was travelling at 58 mph.

High Road is often used as an alternative to the A47, especially if there has been an accident. It now appears Cambs County Council policy is to set speed limits by determining what speed traffic is travelling at and set the limit at that speed, for example they only set a 20mph speed limit outside schools when average speeds do not exceed 24mph. I believe most motorists are law abiding and will stick to a speed limit, surely that is the idea of having them in the first place, to instruct drivers what limit it is safe to drive at.

Frustrated by lack of action, residents decided to get a petition calling for the speed limit to be reduced. This was supported by over 150 people. There are many more homes in the village and surrounding area we have yet to call on, but will be happy to do so if more signatures are required.

We had hoped to present the petition at the Area Joint Committee in January but this was cancelled. We will now present it at the next meeting on April 1.

Residents put up a number of signs for National Road Safety Week in November asking people to drive more slowly through the village, ie 30mph or less. The signs were left in place to encourage safer driving and appeared to be having a positive affect as the 40mph flashing sign on High Road wasn’t being triggered.

After the county council received only one complaint they decided to take the signs down indicating the signs were against policy and regulations.

How will the council deal with requests such as that referenced in our petition, under the “Big Society” idea and in particular when the new Localism Bill is enacted, which is designed to give communities more of a say on what needs doing?’

Past performance indicates they will only be able to give the stock answers of either: there’s no budget, its against policy or we can’t look at that for a couple of years due to other commitments.

Without a more proactive approach and will to improve the situation, it appears that concerns regarding road safety will be ignored.

GAVIN BOOTH

Chairman Fenland Rural Road Safety Action Network