FENLANDER: Major road safety campaign launched to curb speeding in villages

A MAJOR road safety campaign is being rolled out across the district in a concerted bid to curb speeding in and around Fenland’s villages.

Launched in Guyhirn last week, it seeks to get communities actively involved in combating a problem that was highlighted at the Wisbech and District Neighbourhood Forum earlier this year and is regularly raised as a concern by residents.

The campaign is a joint initiative involving Fenland District Council’s Safer Fenland Team, the Safer Fenland Partnership, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Cambridgeshire County Council.

Guyhirn residents say it is the only place in Cambridgeshire that has a 40mph limit on a road running past a school. They want Cambridgeshire County Council to reduce it to 30mph and 20mph outside the school.

They are also petitioning the county council demanding a 30mph limit in Gull Road, which they describe as “a speedway circuit” where drivers regularly top 60mph.

Over the past two weeks a series of “Slow Down” signs have been displayed in the village as part of a programme of activities that has involved local district and parish councillors and Guyhirn primary school.

Speedwatch volunteers have carried out roadside checks and flyers have been widely distributed, giving a range of safety advice including tips on driving, parking and walking. Children at the primary school have also joined in a project producing their own road safety posters.

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Councillor David Oliver, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for community safety, said: “This is the first stage in an ongoing campaign. We are seeking to involve local communities as much as possible, whether that be through the establishment of Speedwatch groups, activities within schools or special projects run by parish councils.”

Justine Sands, head teacher at Guyhirn primary school, is strongly supporting the campaign. She said: “It is paramount that the speed of the traffic is reduced in the village to ensure that the children have a safer route to school and that road safety for the whole community in Guyhirn is a high priority.”

The campaign will target two villages every three months. It will move on to Leverington in June.

Fenland District Councillor Gavin Booth, the newly elected Liberal Democrat member for Parson Drove and Wisbech St Mary and chairman of the Fenland Rural Road Safety Action Network, said: “It is really encouraging to see the start of this year-long project. I believe that all the partners should put in every effort to ensure that villagers’ concerns are addressed by sustainable and lasting solutions.

“With the high accident rate on Fenland roads compared to the rest of the country it is vital that this issue is addressed as a priority.”

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