As already reported in ‘Out and About’, because of the new houses being built off Station Road, the Town Council wanted a speed limit of 30mph to be extended along the full length of Station Road. From where it currently starts, just past the junction with Hugh Squier Avenue, to the junction with the Link Road.
Devon County Council (DCC) were happy to extend the 30mph limit to just before the turn-off for Gunsdown Villas, but objected to extending it all the way to the Link Road junction.
This was not what our elected representatives wanted but was the advice given to them by the council officers i.e. the council employees.
In order for the full 30mph limit to be approved it will have to go to a full meeting of the DCC cabinet!
This has happened, and the proposal to extend the 30mph the full length of Station Road was rejected. The only compromise was that it would extend to just beyond the entrance to Gunsdown Villas.
Public consultation on this closed on Monday 13 April and I submitted an objection to Devon County Council outlining why the limit should be further extended.
I feel it’s worthwhile to go into more detail and I’ve done that here rather than in ‘Out and About’.
The reasons for the Highways Authority objection, taken directly from the DCC paperwork, are:
- This would not be in line with DCC policy. Policy states to provide [sic] 30mph speed limits in communities and between communities the national speed limit will apply.
- In the last five years, there has been one reported collision on Station Road on the 40mph section.
- There are no safety grounds to extend the 30mph any further on Station Road than has been advertised. Extending the 30mph out would increase the risk of collisions due to inappropriate overtaking.
- The current 40mph is reasonably compliant.
My comments are:
- The DCC policy isn’t fit for purpose and should take far more account of local views, rather than being driven (!) by people sitting in an office in Exeter. In ‘communities’ I feel that the speed limit should be 20mph rather than 30mph. Given the nature of many of our roads (and the lack of maintenance) the limit between communities ought to be judged on a case-by-case basis, and not dictated by a one-size-fits-all policy. Many of the roads leading out of South Molton should be subject to a considerably lower speed limit than the national limit. Apart from the fact that decreased speed results in fewer serious injuries, it also results in far less road noise.
- The collision statistics (which can be found on the DCC website) are out-of-date, only report ‘collisions’ which result in injury, and collisions are under-reported anyway.
- Hmm! As I’ve already written there are noise issues as well as safety issues and the impression given here is that nothing will be done until there are accidents resulting in death or injury. The part of the road from the junction with the Link Road to beyond the road to Pathfields is lit by street lights, which would imply a 30mph limit, that’s why DCC have had to put 40mph repeater signs up.
- What does the term reasonably compliant mean? To me it suggests that a large number of vehicles ignore the existing speed limit. Surely it doesn’t constitute grounds not to impose a lower speed limit? There’s also a suggestion that because drivers wouldn’t comply with a speed limit, a speed limit shouldn’t be imposed.
In essence the County Council are failing to do what the electorate want them to do, and are hiding behind totally spurious ‘Policy Documents’.
Perhaps it’s time that the County Council was abolished and decisions were taken closer to those involved!