UPDATE: Pilot project in preparation! See various news articles for follow-up. Thank you to all who helped!

Traffic speed is perhaps one of the most talked about subjects when it comes to the effects that motor vehicles have on safety, the environment, and the way we enjoy our town. Whitchurch Town Council is taking positive action to try and reduce the harmful effects.

Unanimous support for a 20mph pilot study
A proposal was put to the Town Council that they apply to be one of five 20mph pilot studies to be run in Hampshire.

At a full Council Meeting councillors agreed unanimously to make the application.
The proposal was part of the follow up to the Council’s decision last month to support the principles of the national ‘cyclesafe’ manifesto launched by The Times, which included calls for a 20mph limit on residential roads without cycle lanes.
See Town supports cycling manifesto.

We used to play in our streets…
Local campaigner for better cycling and road safety provision John Buckley, a DfT listed cycling instructor, had supplied a briefing sheet to the Councillors. It included:

“Many of us probably grew up being able to play in our streets.
Children these days are rarely allowed to play on their street, let alone walk or cycle to their school or friend’s houses unaccompanied. Yet getting to know the other children and families on your street is one of the best ways of creating a strong local community. Learning to make independent journeys and take responsibility for one’s actions is also an essential part of growing up.”

No journey in Whitchurch would take more than 60 seconds longer

“If speeds were reduced from 30mph to 20mph in Whitchurch, no journey in town would take more than one minute longer – The Whitchurch Minute.”

“When traffic speeds are 20mph the roads are not only safer – they ‘feel safer’, creating a better environment for all for walking to the shops or allowing children out to play. The UK claims to have safe roads but that is not the case for cyclists or pedestrians, particularly children.
Each year 80 Classrooms of children are killed or seriously injured on the UK roads!”

Traffic problems affect us all but the most vulnerable suffer the most (click to enlarge)

It is hoped that Hampshire County Council will now select Whitchurch as a pilot.

If so, volunteers will be required to assist in speed monitoring and surveys as the pilot will require community involvement.

Other traffic problems
Speed is not the only issue that affects the town. Narrow pavements, large lorries, parking, road crossings all have an effect on the town’s environment. The Council has also expressed a need for action as traffic will increase with the opening of the Gin Distillery Visitor Centre at Laverstoke, which is planned to attract 100,000 visitors a year, many in excursion coaches, putting more strain on our roads.

Would you like to help?
Does local traffic concern you?
Road safety forum?

If anyone would like to help or has an interest in a Whitchurch Road Safety Forum please email contact@whitchurch.org.uk

Comments (3)

  • Mike Stead

    Why do we have to wait to be part of a pilot? Why can’t we apply, or whatever the process is, to change our limits to 20 now?

    Who actually has the final say? What is the process?

  • Anna Semlyen

    20mph limits cost about 1,400 pounds per km.
    The reason the town may want to be part of the trial is to access funding. Otherwise other sources, like Section 106 developer monies could potentially be used.
    Councillors at Hampshire CC have the final say as they are democratically responsible for local speed limits.

  • The Mayor and Mayoress

    I, on behalf of the town council, have written a letter to HCC explaining our situation and urging them to use Whitchurch as a pilot of 20 MPH for the town. I have also personaly been assured of support for our bid from our MP Sir George Young, County Councillor Tom Thacker and Borough Councillors Keith Watts and Eric Dunlop. Lets hope for the best.

    Barry.

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