Following the local consultation on the introduction of a 20mph pilot scheme in Whitchurch, there have been some changes to the area under consideration.
Local residents in roads affected have been receiving letters from Hampshire County Council after a survey that showed two thirds of respondents were in favour of 20mph speed limits. However local feedback also showed that some changes were required.
Some areas excluded
Lynch Hill Park and Dances Lane have now been excluded from the scheme. This ‘short cut’ across town, used by some drivers from outside Whitchurch to reach the railway station and the A34 north junction, has now been deemed as better suited to 30mph, because, as HCC say “motorists would be very unlikely to conform to a 20mph limit”.
Supporters of 20mph limits find it difficult to understand this logic. One campaigner asked – “So if enough people shoplift, then would it become acceptable?”
There is also some concern that this may become a rat run for fast traffic.
A suggestion has been made is that if drivers don’t conform to limits and that if the police feel unable to carry out enforcement, a speed camera could be installed.
Other areas to cause concern to campaigners include the exclusion of the area that leads towards Oak Tree Nursery, the top of Newbury Road. There is concern about high speeds in this area and the nursery already asks parents to keep to 20mph on Berehill. The west end of Church Street and the top of London Road at Hillside are also excluded. Speed is an issue in these locations and there is presently a speed recorder at Hillside where a footway crosses the road and leads to a route to the Primary School and Testbourne. Although not related to 20mph it is known there is also a police camera situated by the church.
Part of Wells Lane now included
While all of Wells Lane had originally been excluded, the northern part will now be included, from Bell Street up to the ‘tunnel’ crossing point from Park View. This section is used by many for access to Rising Fives Pre-School, and will become busier with more foot and cycle traffic after the completion of any development off Bloswood Lane.
Another area to be added is an extension of Newbury Street up to and including King’s Walk as this is an important route for walking to school and to the town centre, as well as being an access to the Bere Hill House/Wessex Lodge residential care homes.
Backed by County Councillor and Town Council
The pilot has the backing of County Councillor Tom Thacker who had supported the original plans that went to consultation and had helped in deciding the area to be covered. Tom approached the County after the Town Council had given its unanimous support.
The next stage of the process is to put the Traffic Orders in place.
Support growing over UK
20mph areas, which are low cost to implement in comparison to other traffic calming features, are receiving much more support over the UK, with over 12 million people now living in areas which are adopting or have adopted this policy.
A number of important organisations have also joined together to combine resources, including health, road safety, and environmental groups. GO20 has much information about the benefits of lower speeds in areas where people live and work.