Sudbury: Town drops 20mph zone idea

Traffic in Sudbury Traffic in Sudbury

Friday, May 2, 2014
8:12 AM

A push to get 20mph speed limits implemented throughout Sudbury has been dropped because new criteria introduced by the county council would make it impossible for most of the town’s roads to qualify.

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In 2012, Suffolk’s highways boss put a freeze on implementing new speed restriction zones in the county, but the authority recently adopted a new policy on lower speed limits.

This was after its roads and transport policy development panel conducted a widescale investigation of 20mph zones and drew up a list of criteria.

Priority is given to roads with a history of accidents, where there are high levels of pedestrian activity, and where conservation areas needed protection.

But unless there are exceptional circumstances, 20mph zones will not be considered on A and B class roads, those with existing average speeds above 30mph and where there is no significant local support for such a scheme.

At a Sudbury highways committee meeting this week, members decided that the only place that would qualify under the new criteria was near schools, most of which already have 20mph limits in place.

Committee chairman Tony Platt, who was behind the 20mph push, said: “20 zones will only be considered where two out of the three criteria have been met but not on an A or B road, which rules out most of ours. I still believe that if areas are signed as 20 it will make motorists think.”

But town councillor Simon Barrett is against the introduction of a “blanket” 20mph scheme across the whole town.

He said: “If you introduce a blanket 20mph limit, it has no worthwhile meaning. The boy racers who ignore the 30mph signs will have even less desire to respect 20mph limits.

“I think the perception is that Sudbury has more of a problem with speeding than it actually has. The data shows we have actually had very few serious accidents in the town since 2005.”

The committee decided to put forward one area around Tudor, Clarence, York and Priory roads – where there are upper and primary schools – as a proposed trial area.

Committee member Nigel Bennett said: “The main purpose of 20mph is to safeguard children so having them near schools is the obvious place. Although we already have 20 zones around schools, extending them would give people more time to slow down.”

Meanwhile in Bury St Edmunds plans are forging ahead for a 20mph limit in the Southgate Street corridor.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said informal consultation had been carried out with the local community which had gained a “very positive response,” and the authority was progressing with formal consultation with statutory consultees, including the police.

If this statutory consultation is successful the county council will make an order.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council, said: “The Policy Development Panel for roads and transport have the remit to look at requests and recommendations for any proposed 20mph limits.

“These proposals will then be publicly consulted on, the responses will be taken into account before a final decision is made as to whether to introduce a speed limit to the area in question.”

6 comments

  • That's sad news, that a few people in positions of power can refuse to improve conditions for everyone. These new criteria are clearly designed to keep the status quo: the "Road safety" method of keeping everyone who isn't in a car off the streets. Which is fine, so long as you are licensed to drive a car, and you actually have access to one at the time you want to travel. It's terrible for children and the elderly, households with no car, and households with one car that spends most of its time in a workplace car park. Worse, the comments implicitly give "boy racers" approval to break speed limits as much as they like. Do councillors really think this is an acceptable situation? While doing 35 mph in a 30 mph limit might be acceptable to most, doing the same speed in a 20 mph limit would be clearly unacceptable with a serious risk of a fine and points. Speed limits affect driving speeds whether or not they're strongly enforced: no speed limits are actually enforced by police much, except where fixed speed cameras are in use. Why do councillors think that children only exist near schools? Don't they know that children also have homes, where they spend much more of their time? When children are at school they're usually well-supervised inside the school grounds, not hanging around on the street outside!

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    Anthony Cartmell

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

  • Suffolk's timid new policy says that 20 limits will not be allowed on A or B roads unless there are "exceptional circumstances". People being afraid to walk in their own town centre is an exceptional circumstance. Let's use the ballot box to push SCC to change their minds.

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    Robert Lindsay

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

  • Suffolk County Council and Mr Barrett obviously don't want a pedestrian and cycle-friendly Sudbury. The only real solution is to scrap the daft one-way system and introduce area-wide 20mph. Let's not give up on that idea. Politicians can be voted out...

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    Robert Lindsay

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

  • Perhaps Simon Barrett should talk to the people who have suffered in collisions, "few in number" as they are. I'm sure that many of them will say "If only the traffic had been slower, my injuries wouldn't have been as severe". Of course, if the traffic had been going at 20mph max, a collision may not have occurred at all. Towns and cities all over the UK are benefiting from going over to 20mph, and some boroughs in London are including their A-roads (they're going borough-wide 20mph). So sad that Sudbury is taking a backward step. If anyone wants to read more on the subject, and press local councillors to change their minds, take a look at the briefing sheets at http:www.20splentyforus.org.uk Simon Barrett would also do well to watch this video: http:www.bristol20mph.co.ukvideos

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    chiefsub68

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

  • The existing road network and traffic make Sudbury a not very pleasant place to go about on foot. Traffic is getting worse yet there are no real plans to improve things. The only real option in Sudbury as well is the car because the bus services are so poor. Improving the bus services would help to reduce car traffic in the town

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    BobE

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014

  • Simon Barrett obviously does not try to cross the road from Belle Vue Park, or from Newton Road to the town centre. He would then know that speeding is not just a 'perception' but a reality. Everyone including young families, the elderly, and the disabled, risk their lives every day as traffic from Girling Street speeds around the bend into Newton Road. This is also a blind bend. Traffic often continues, at speed, in Newton Road and it is not difficult to see that it is travelling too fast. Too many of the vehicles turning out of Newton Road into adjacent residential roads, especially late in the afternoon, accelerate rapidly and certainly exceed the speed limit even when passing parked cars and around bends. Traffic from the Belle Vue roundabout turning quickly into Cornard Road catches people out as they are crossing. This traffic may not be exceeding the speed limit at this point, but you only have to witness the hazardous situation as people of all ages, and abilities, try to get across this road. Ingram's Well Road, with an entrance to the park, is also quite dangerous to pedestrians. The town park is an island bounded by busy roads and no proper pedestrian crossings. Pedestrians need to be considered much more in Sudbury, and without waiting for fatalities.

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    Larna

    Friday, May 2, 2014

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