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Wickhambrook/Stradishall: Villagers unite to curb road speeds

PUBLISHED: 10:00 04 February 2013

Wickhambrook resident Sam Sykes with his radar box on the A143.

Wickhambrook resident Sam Sykes with his radar box on the A143.

Archant

CONCERNED residents from neighbouring villages are pooling their resources in a bid to cut speed limits near their homes.

Tony Gearing, who lives on the A143 at Stradishall, has been campaigning for the past year to have the 60mph limit on his stretch of road reduced to 40mph.

He has recently joined forces with Sam Sykes who lives further along the A143 at Wickham Street, near Wickhambrook. Mr Sykes, who has a 40mph limit outside his home, would like it reduced to 30mph.

And the duo have been using state-of-the-art technology to back up their argument after Mr Sykes spent £3,000 on radar equipment to monitor the speeds of passing traffic.

Mr Sykes, a 38-year-old IT worker, who intends to take his findings to Suffolk County Council and his local MP, said: “It’s an expensive approach but rather than just complaining about the speeds of vehicles here, I thought it would be better to gather evidence.

“The evidence is compelling. In the 107 days I have monitored the road, more than half a million vehicles have gone past and 63% have been going faster than the 40mph speed limit.

“The fastest speed I’ve recorded was a motorbike doing 104mph.”

Mr Sykes, whose driveway exits on to the A143, said his family had to be careful when pulling out.

He added: “Even though we are 300yards from the national speed limit sign, drivers start to accelerate while they are still in the built-up area.

“More than once we have had to make an emergency stop because an overtaking car or bike doing 70 to 100mph is coming straight at us on the wrong side of the road.”

Father-of four Mr Gearing, 53, who is founder of the Young People of the Year charity, says his family faces similar dangers when they want to get to their garden, which is located on the opposite side of the A143 to their cottage.

He said: “We risk our lives every time we cross the road. Because cars are allowed to pass our house at 60mph, the national speed limit, they do not think they have to consider pedestrians at all.

“Often when we are crossing from our home to our garden with our toddlers, we have to pick them up and run because it is clear the vehicles are not going to slow down – despite seeing us.”

He added: “If there was even a 50mph speed limit on this stretch it would at least stop drivers thinking ‘we own this road’.

“We want them to recognise they share this busy road with several homes and businesses and give us rightful consideration.”

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