Today sustainable transport charity Sustrans has called on the government to take action on road safety following an alarming increase in road deaths and injuries.
In a statement issued today Chief Executive Malcolm Shepherd said:
“A great start would be to reduce our default residential speed limit from 30 to 20 miles per hour, which will make our communities safer for everyone.”

Action for Whitchurch
The effect of traffic speed can have a wide range of effects on quality of life in a community. Three months ago Whitchurch Town Council unanimously agreed to ask asked Hampshire County Council to include the town in a 20mph pilot study.
Local County Councillor Tom Thacker took this forward and it is now under active consideration.
So popular is the call for lower speeds that 45 areas across the County have been proposed from which just 5 or 6 will be selected to part as a pilot.

THE QUESTION: So what area of Whitchurch should be included in a pilot study?

Campaigners who proposed the pilot to the Town Council are calling for a community-wide approach to be taken, saying:
“20mph should be a the default limit where people live and work. It creates a more pleasant safer environment for all; for children walking and cycling to school and for shoppers using local businesses” adding “It returns the streets to the people.”

A safer, more pleasant community
It is claimed slower speeds enable walking, cycling and driving to becomes safer and more pleasant. The community feels safer and children can once again play outside.
Slower speeds provide the basis for active travel, lowering obesity, heart disease and stress as well as smoothing traffic flow and cutting congestion. There are now over 2000 20mph schemes in England – should Whitchurch be included?

The Whitchurch Minute
Given the compact nature of Whitchurch if limits were reduced from 30 to 20mph, no journey would take more than one minute longer, less time than it takes to pack a lunchbox – The Whitchurch Minute.

Road safety worsens in Hampshire
Campaigners say there is now an added incentive, as figures for casualties on Hampshire roads are showing an alarming 24% increase in deaths and a 21% rise in serious injuries.

Two areas where 20mph may have benefits - down Newbury Street into town, and housing areas around the schools. What do you think? (Click pic to enlarge)

Selecting the area
Whilst HCC will finally select the areas there is an opportunity for local input from residents. If HCC selects Whitchurch as a pilot there will be a need for community involvement, including speed monitoring and surveys with public perception being the most important measure of success.

  • Does local traffic concern you?
  • Are you interested in a 20mph pilot for Whitchurch? What area should it cover?
  • Should it be the town centre, or perhaps near the schools? Or somewhere else?
  • Are their other traffic safety issues that concern you?

What do you think?
Anyone who wishes to support a 20mph limit – or has other ideas – or has suggestions as to which area would be best are asked to contact:
It is hoped an informal meeting will be arranged.

Comments (3)

  • Mike Stead

    For ages we’ve been concerned about the speed of Police cars coming down Newbury st toward the square. My airport taxi driver, who retired recently from the Police with 30 yrs experience as a Class 1 driver and Police driving instructor had a look at the last few hundred metres of road. He said the following:

    * It should be a 20 zone, no question
    * There wasn’t a long enough piece of paper to write down all the hazards – parked cars, front doors, pedestrians, narrow footpaths, downhill, blind corner, driveways, oncoming single-lane traffic…
    * It was the sort of road that gets used in safety training videos as the textbook worst-possible environment to drive fast through

    He agreed that even at the limit of 30, there was not enough road for even a Class-1 certified Police driver in a new Police car to stop safely in, should a child/pensioner/mum with pram be crossing the road.

    With the risk of oncoming uphill traffic, anyone doing even 20 would be gambling. If it was an HGV/bus/tractor coming up the hill, there would be no escape.

    I just hope HCC don’t give us any of this nonsense ‘it’s the A34 standby road’. Everyone knows when the A34 closes Newbury & Winchester Streets are walking pace traffic at best.

  • Angry Man

    I have to travel down the hill on Newbury Street on the way home and I always slow down to 20-25 from 30 by the time I reach the junction with Firsway and this is always some idiot riding my backend obviously wanting to do 30+.

    Enforcement is going to be the key here – there are two many people ignoring the 30mph limit now let alone 20mph.

    Angry Man

  • Meadow volunteer

    Housing area around the schools would be a waste of signs and opportunity. No one can do more than 10 there anyway.

    In addition to the Newbury Str:
    Church street entry (sharp bend near the Church), Winchester street entry (bend near the Meadow), and London rd entry into Whitchurch (bends and blind spots all over with a lot of kids crossing for school routes or cycling and footpaths coming to the road) are the most dangerous spots where 20 are needed. How many kids are not allowed to walk to school because it is not safe to cross London road?

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