Wickham Market: Villagers call for road safety action in Chapel Lane ‘before a tragedy occurs’
13:01 25 July 2014
Dozens of people living on a narrow lane in east Suffolk have petitioned authorities to prevent traffic “whizzing” past their homes for fear that someone will get hurt.
The petition, created by Charlotte Harvey, who lives in Chapel Lane, Wickham Market, has so far been signed by 25 residents requesting action “before a tragedy occurs”.
Ms Harvey and many of her cosignatories attended Monday’s parish council meeting to call for further support. They told councillors that many of their neighbours felt 30mph was too fast for such a narrow lane, which is without a footpath along much of its length and often travelled by families with young children.
Ms Harvey said there had been several near misses and a number of accidents in which vehicles were damaged, homes collided into and a cyclist knocked off his bike.
She also told the meeting that Pc Debbie Howgego had been contacted about the problem and was “very unhappy” with the road layout.
Although the police officer had suggested carrying out speed checks along the road, she was reportedly unable to do so having found the 30mph signs to be “completely obscured” by overgrowth. Police may only enforce speed limits if they are visible to approaching motorists.
In a letter to the parish council, Ms Harvey wrote: “The general feeling among residents along the lane is that drivers come up in that direction regularly use the lane to get from Rendlesham to the A12 and it has become a bit of a rat-run.”
Another public speaker at the meeting said residents were “fed up of cars whizzing past” and pleaded for support from the council.
Parish chairman Dick Jenkinson said he would raised the issue “quite vociferously” with Suffolk County Council at their next joint meeting.
Bryan Hall, Wickham Market’s district councillor, said after the meeting that he would also be making “strong representations” to the county council.
A spokesman for the county council has since confirmed that the area around the 30mph signs would be cleared. Outlining the authority’s new approach to 20mph zones, the spokesman said requests should be made via the town council and would then be assessed against set criteria.