Aldeburgh and Leiston: Campaigners want speed limit pledge before ballot

Speed campaigner fined

Speed campaigner fined

CAMPAIGNERS are seeking guarantees from local election candidates over speed restrictions on a Suffolk road before going to the polls.

Residents fighting for the 60mph limit to be reduced along B1122, which leaves Aldeburgh towards Leiston, have called on prospective county councillors to pledge resources ahead of Thursday’s ballot.

Limits at either end were cut to 40mph in the late 1960s but many have been calling for traffic to be slowed along the entire road.

In recent years Aldeburgh Town Council has supported the move, while road chiefs at Suffolk County Council recommended approval in 2011 but could not afford funding.

It means whoever is elected on Friday would need to find the necessary cash - potentially from their own locality budget, allocated each year to assist needs in their division.

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Nick Hubbard, of the Sandlings Safer Cycling Campaign, said: “This has been a problem for some time. It’s a problem for cyclists, pedestrians, disabled road users and drivers.

“Officials have already shown support for a change. Any cost is surely justified when it concerns safety.

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“It’s a great shame that nothing has yet been done and I believe it will swing votes.”

Aldeburgh and Leiston incumbent, Conservative Richard Smith, said he would make no promises but agreed to revisit the issue if elected. He added: “I feel strongly about this issue but I will not go any further than saying that if I am elected I will re-examine it.

“It’s not something that can immediately be done by snapping your fingers. It has to go through the county council’s rights of way committee.

“I understand the problem but this is not a single issue election. I am sympathetic towards people’s wishes and have worked very hard for the area.”

Richard Walker, who lives on the road, said his vote had been influenced by the issue. He added: “Right across Suffolk things are being blocked by individual councillors, no matter how badly their constituents want them.

“People have been coming round to finding a solution for what is an important safety issue but Richard Smith has stuck out against it.”

Tony Cooper, running as an independent, said: “This should not be a political issue. It should be about supporting the community.

“This is one of the biggest bugbears for some residents, who feel let down so far.

“I will stick by my promise to find funding. If I don’t get in, I will continue to fight hard for the community.”

Labour hopeful Terry Hodgson said: “I am in favour of reducing the limit. It’s not a big imposition.

“I think it should be the responsibility of the county council but I appreciate times are tight.

“I would look at the figures and make it a road safety priority in the area.”

Liberal candidate Paul Jackman-Graham said: “I have no doubt in my mind that this is a valid thing to do. There is no logic in not having the speed limit reduced and I would want to find funding.

“This should not be a question of politics when it could cost lives.”

Green Party nominee Marie Clark said: “One of our priorities is the introduction of lower speed limits.

“I’m afraid an accident is waiting to happen on that road and I would certainly look to fund it.

“It would not require millions of pounds and could actually help avoid costs of damage caused by accidents.”

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