March resident stopped from discussing Wimblington Road speed limit at meeting after councillor invokes technicality

Mike Cornwell

Mike Cornwell - Credit: Archant

A WIMBLINGTON Road resident has expressed his irritation at being prevented from speaking on the road’s speed limit at Monday’s town council meeting.

Former teacher Chris Hill was invited to speak at the meeting by Councillor Jan French, Mayor of March, but Cllr Mike Cornwell objected because the matter had been discussed five months and 24 days ago and a standing order dictates you have to wait six months to re-visit an issue.

The standing order was upheld and Mr Hill will not be able to speak on the matter until April 8.

Mr Hill said: “My initial reaction was not something you can put in print. The Mayor of March apologised to me but no one else did about the fact that I had sat there and completely wasted my evening.

“I didn’t scream or shout because there’s no point doing so when you are presented with a ‘fait accompli’.”

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Two young men, Dominic Iliffe, 24, and James Kiely, 27, were killed on the road in December 2011.

Driver Bill Bishop, 19, was found guilty of causing their deaths by careless driving. Mr Hill has argued the 60mph stretch at the end of Wimblington Road should be reduced to 40 mph, while other residents have proposed reducing the speed limit outside Neale Wade Community College.

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He said: “I can’t think of another road in Fenland which has got a pavement next to it but has a 60 mph speed limit, especially of that width and with so much traffic. To be honest, it’s just wrong.

“The fact that members of the council are more worried about a point of procedure than discussing something which from my point of view is so important is staggering.”

Clive Lemmon, Town Clerk, said the council was bound by the constitution to stop him from speaking.

He said: “Councillors picked up that this item had already been discussed in the last six months.

“We have to conform with standing orders but it was immediately agreed that as soon as the six months is up the item would be re-visited.

“We have assured Mr Hill that the item has been put in the minutes and will be discussed on April 8.”

Cllr French, who is leading the campaign to reduce the road’s speed limit, said: “I asked members to suspend the standing order to allow him to speak, which they agreed to but we did not realise it was just less than six months ago when the matter was discussed.

“One of the councillors did not want to discuss it. It’s just one of those things.”

Cllr French intends to use the next two months to carry out more research into the issue and develop the campaign.

She said: “This gives us more time to consult with residents and we will bring our findings back to the April meeting.”

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