A council has decided not to implement a 20 mph speed limit in a Moorlands town – despite a petition of more than 6,500 signatures calling for such road safety measures. Leek resident Roger Warrillow has spent months in collating the 6,700 signatures on his petition calling for the speed limit to be changed in the town’s centre.
A council has decided not to implement a 20 mph speed limit in a Moorlands town – despite a petition of more than 6,500 signatures calling for such road safety measures.
Leek resident Roger Warrillow has spent months in collating the 6,700 signatures on his petition calling for the speed limit to be changed in the town’s centre.
Last week, at the meeting of Staffordshire County Council on May 19, he made a presentation to back up his petition to the local authority.
However, after a debate between councillors, it was decided not to work towards implementing a 20mph in Leek town centre.
Roger told the Leek & Moorlands Echo: “It is with deep regret that after collecting 6,700 signatures for a 20mph speed limit in Leek town centre, that the Full County Council members decided not to support.
“What was upsetting was our local councillors were very negative about the benefits of pedestrian safety and thought there was nothing wrong with our traffic concerns.
“However our resident of Leek, councillor Charlotte Atkins spoke up for democracy and backed up our concerns for supporting a 20mph speed limit for Leek town centre.
“Springs to mind, keep supporting people who support you the electorate.”
Roger added: “It is worth considering that a 20mph speed limit would save lives and life changing traffic accidents, road congestion, road repairs, stability of buildings, noise pollution, air pollution and national health issues. 20mph equals 20 per cent less casualties.
“There is 25 per cent less air pollution at 20mph as against 30mph.
“Leek needs a safe environment for its main industry of tourism.”
Councillor Charlotte Atkins told the Leek & Moorlands Echo after the council meeting: “Sadly well over 6,000 local residents were ignored by the county council on May 19.
“Roger Warrillow presented his petition to the full council outlining the traffic problems and safety issues in Leek but the Conservative County Council Cabinet Member, David Williams rejected out of hand any suggestion that a 20mph limit should be introduced into Leek town centre.”
She added: “The county council has already proposed detailed plans to place a 20mph limit on St Edward Street, which is a major part of the town centre.
“But that limit is awaiting a major revamp of that road and adjoining streets with more pedestrian crossings, cycle lanes and new paving.
“Goodness knows when the funding will be found for this exciting new development. So why do we need to wait for that 20mph speed limit?
“The desirability of the 20mph limit has already been recognised by the county council and agreed as part of the county’s new development plan.
“So with clear community support evidenced by Mr Warrillow’s petition and county council plans already in place for a 20mph limit in Leek town centre, I hope we are pushing at an open door for this 20mph limit.”
We also contacted Staffordshire County Council for clarity over the decision, to which councillor David Williams said: “All speed limits in Staffordshire are implemented in accordance with current national guidance, which may require the introduction of engineering measures to encourage drivers to keep within the speed restrictions and remove the need for routine Police enforcement. These measures, together with necessary signing at all entry and exit points, will determine the cost of a scheme.
“With no significant change in accident rates and no benefit to the environment, can local authorities including parish councils justifiably spend the amounts of money required to create these zones?”
At the full council of Staffordshire County Council, Leek resident Roger Warrillow made a presentation to back up his petition, after which councillors then went on to debate the petition.
Cllr David Williams said: “Staffordshire County Council does take road safety extremely seriously and recognises local concerns about drivers travelling at inappropriate speeds throughout all of our communities. We maintain one of the safest highway networks in the county and target road safety interventions that have the greatest impact.
“Most importantly, we liaise with our communities to understand their aspirations and work collaboratively to tackle any road safety concerns.”
Cllr Charlotte Atkins, who serves on the Leek Town ward of the county council, said: “One in three towns in the UK have, or are planning to implement, a 20mph speed limit in areas which have pedestrian traffic. Leek is very much in tune with other communities.
“Mr Warrilow has demonstrated very clearly the community support with his petition and the county council wants to promote active travel by cycling or on foot.
“It’s clear that lower traffic speeds encourage walking and cycling. Speeding traffic is not consistent with quiet enjoyment of such areas.”
Cllr Paul Northcote said: “Staffordshire has one of the best safe roads records in England. A blanket 20mph speed limit would do nothing for traffic flow through Leek.
“It’s not environmentally friendly, targeted speed restrictions are far better.”
Cllr Ian Parry said: “I was half expecting the public gallery to be full of like-minded members of the Leek community who wanted to reinforce your petition this morning.
“I don’t think the case is well-made for the cost to justify this.
“I was hoping to have a lot more sympathy, hearing a lot more data and a lot more evidence that supports that this is a special case, but I don’t, so far, understand that this is a special case.”
Cllr Gill Heath, who serves on the Leek Rural ward of the county council, said: “It’s taken three petitions to get the significant figure to bring it to this debate.
“I’ve not seen people speeding or seen any problems. No one has approached me to ask about this.
“It can take longer to go through Leek than to get to Flash or wherever I’m going.
“Part of my division is Leek North and no one has ever brought this problem up with me.”
In his closing response, Cllr David Williams said: “I think it’s been borne out that unfortunately cars these days are quicker, but people are still duty-bound to follow the highway code.
“To put a blanket 20mph speed limits in will mean absolutely nothing in my view. If they’re not following a 30mph, why would they follow 20mph?
“Local members need to be working with county highways teams to put physical barriers in if they think it’s not safe.”
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