Parish considers blanket 20mph speed limit 'to save lives'

PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:21 18 March 2019

Launch of Backwell 20mph zone campaign at Backwell Parish council offices. Cllrs. Bob Taylor and chairman Peter Soothill.    

Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Launch of Backwell 20mph zone campaign at Backwell Parish council offices. Cllrs. Bob Taylor and chairman Peter Soothill. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Archant

‘I don’t want to be back here in two years time asking for the same thing, after a child has died’, was the impassioned plea from a villager in Backwell as the parish discussed plans to create a blanket 20mph zone.

The scheme, which could cost the parish up to £600,000, would see a reduced speed limit placed upon all roads excluding the A370.

One villager at the Backwell Parish Council meeting on March 7, said: “Some people say it will be a waste of money, but what price can you put on a child’s life?

“If this saves one life it will be worth it.”

The plans follow the completion of £200,000 of works which saw traffic-calming measures installed and the speed limit reduced to 20mph in Station Road.

Two options were placed before councillors for consideration by Cllr Steve Mitchell – one without road-calming measures, preferred by the bulk of councillors for £90,000, and a more comprehensive solution costing up to £600,000.

When the subject of enforcement was raised, Cllr James Cousins said: “Are most roads enforceable at 30mph or 40?

“We have a problem with rat runs in the village with people avoiding the 20mph areas so it needs to be the whole village to be effective.”

Cllr Richard MacLeavy voiced concerns over the effectiveness of the measures compared to the considerable cost to the parish.

He said: “£600,000 seems like a lot of money to spend to only reduce the speed in the village by one or two miles per hour.”

Cllr Mitchell admitted any scheme would take a long time to come to fruition.

He said: “North Somerset is unlikely to pay for this so we will have to look at alternative means of funding like the airport improvement fund.”

A spokesman for North Somerset Council said it will respond to the proposal after ‘careful consideration’.

In 2010, the parish successfully lobbied to have the speed limit on parts of the A370 which runs through the village reduced from 40mph to 30.

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