Thursday, 03 December 2020

Villagers set for defeat over speed restrictions

PLANS to cut the speed limit in Shiplake to 20mph have been backed by the highways authority

PLANS to cut the speed limit in Shiplake to 20mph have been backed by the highways authority despite opposition from residents.

The parish council is now awaiting costings of implementing the scheme from Oxfordshire County Council before it makes a final decision.

If approved the new limit would be introduced in residential streets off the A4155 in Shiplake and Shiplake Cross, where the current limit is 30mph.

A total of 48 responses were received as part of the consultation, with 38 against the scheme, six in favour and four with no strong view either way.

Mark Kemp, deputy director of environment and economy at the county council, said: “One of the prime concerns from those objecting to the proposal was a perceived lack of evidence in a number of key areas, most notably whether a road safety problem even exists in terms of speeding; that the proposal will be ineffective if implemented and that the new limit would not be enforced to ensure compliance.

“There is also a fear among local residents that the proposal will result in a high degree of non-compliance, with drivers choosing to ignore the lower limit and discrediting speed limits in general. This was coupled with the belief that the new limit would be difficult to enforce without some degree of effective physical traffic calming.

“Local residents were also concerned about the lack of full public consultation prior to the advertisement of the proposed 20mph scheme. There was a general feeling the parish council did not fully consult with residents before liaising with the county council to progress the scheme.

“Other concerns cited by respondents included a perceived waste of public funds, the lack of viable alternatives put forward, the lack of local support for a 20mph speed limit and that the current 30mph would be more than enough if it were effectively enforced.

“One response highlighted an error in the proposal, which indicated that the full extent of Crowsley Road would fall under the scheme. However the southern section of this road is in fact un-adopted, ie, private, and as such should not be considered as part of the proposals.”

Speed surveys were done in six different locations in September 2014 on main roads featured in the scheme.

Mr Kemp said: “The speed surveys show that at most of the surveyed locations average speeds were at or below 25mph, other than the surveyed site on Memorial Avenue. While this indicates that existing speeds are not unduly high, monitoring of 20mph limits in other areas where before speeds were around this level nevertheless have seen lower speeds following implementation, and also have seen a reduction in the number of injury accidents.

“The accident record for the most recent five years, January 2010 to March 2015, although not unduly high in relation to the local traffic flows, includes two slight injury accidents which had excess speed as a potential contributing factor.”

Thames Valley Police raised no outright objection but said it would prefer a more targeted approach on some roads, which would also include supporting traffic calming measures to ensure compliance that would not be reliant on police enforcement.

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