Speed Limits in Guyhirn

THE residents of Guyhirn over a number of years have asked for the speed limit to be reduced to 30 mph on High Road, with 20mph outside the primary school when the children are there.

In 2003 the County Council agreed to reduce the speed limit to 30mph; however 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. There was also one vehicle clocked travelling at 58 mph. Another issue experienced is that High Road is often used as an alternative to the A47, especially if there has been an accident which results in a constant flow of traffic.

It now appears Cambridgeshire County 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 20 mph speed limit outside schools (which is their policy) when average speeds do not exceed 24 mph. 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. The Police won’t allow an argument of “we are regulating our own speed limit” when they hit you with a fine.

Frustrated by lack of action Guyhirn residents decided to get a Petition together again calling for the speed limit to be reduced. This was supported by over 150 people with very few of those asked declining to sign. 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 Highways Area Joint Committee on 21st January, unfortunately this meeting was cancelled at short notice due to lack of items to discuss! We will therefore present the Petition at the next meeting, scheduled for 1st April, and would appreciate appropriate time being allocated to ensure proper consideration of the Petition and its subject matter.

As you may be aware, local residents put up a number of signs for National Road Safety Week, in November last year, 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, as is the normal situation.

However, after the County Council had received only one complaint they decided to take the signs down, in mid-December, indicating that the signs were against policy and regulations. So it appears the views of a large swathe of people can be overruled on the pretext of just one complaint.

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The question that I feel needs answering is ‘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 struggle and will only be able to give the stock answers of either:

a) there’s no budget; b) its against policy or c) 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 peoples concerns regarding road safety will be ignored and disappear in the halls of County Hall. Hopefully we will be proven wrong in this instance.


Chairman - Fenland Rural Road Safety Action Network

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