Category Archives: Highways

New Purge on Potholes!

New Purge on Potholes!

County Council has new money, new resources and is ready to fix the potholes.

Please help me identify and locate them all, so we can get them resolved.

Please register a pothole at https://highwaysreporting.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/

There will be an incident number and inspection in 10 working days.

Depending on severity, you will now see some potholes marked in yellow which means a repair within 21 days, and if white within 12 weeks.

If not marked, this may not have been registered or is in too dangerous a position to mark.

I will be monitoring progress and if County Council does not fix the pothole within the stated deadlines I will be straight onto highways as soon as you let me know, and give them merry hell!

Thank you for your help! Let’s bust those potholes.

Public consultation helps shape Wisbech transport schemes

Public consultation helps shape Wisbech transport schemes

Proposals for a new Wisbech access road have been amended following feedback from the public to ensure the scheme does not jeopardise prospects to re-open Wisbech Rail.

The Southern Access Road scheme, which would link New Bridge Lane and Boleness Road, is one of a number of transport improvement projects in the Wisbech Access Strategy, which was developed to address congestion and accident blackspots, while increasing road capacity and supporting much-needed housing and job growth.

A series of public consultation events last November showed support for the overall programme of schemes, but there was concern the Southern Access Road would negatively impact the railway project. Objectors and local representatives said the road would cut through the March to Wisbech railway line and prevent the re-opening of a railway station in Wisbech town centre.

Now Fenland District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and Wisbech Town Council are proposing a phased approach to the road, to take the railway line into account and ensure any decisions taken now will not prevent any future delivery of rail.

The phased approach involves designing a new roundabout on the A47 to provide access into south Wisbech so that if railway studies conclude that the preferred location for the station is north of New Bridge Lane there will still be access into the South Wisbech Development area. If the preferred station location is determined to be south of New Bridge Lane, New Bridge Lane could be reconnected.

The amended approach would allow the Wisbech Rail study to conclude the station location without any impact from the Wisbech Access Strategy, and enable the plan to proceed within government-specified funding timescales.

Fenland District Council along with the County Council and the former Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (GCGP LEP), now The Business Board, successfully bid for funds from the Government’s Growth Fund to develop the transport schemes and £10.5 million to implement them – and the funding has to be spent implementing the first package of schemes by 2021.

The two councils are also proposing to amend the original short-term package of schemes, which, if approved by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, could secure an additional £10.5 million of funding from the Combined Authority.

A scheme to relocate the A47/Elm High Road roundabout further east has been brought forward from the medium-term package of schemes (being delivered by 2026) to the short-term package (to be delivered by 2021).

Although this part of the project will require more development and further public consultation with the affected communities of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, bringing it forward means the smaller improvement scheme at Elm High Road/A47 will no longer be required, resulting in money being saved. Completing the project sooner will also mean inflation savings and transport benefits will be felt more quickly.

 

The revised preferred package of short-term schemes now consists of (refer to attached map):

  • New Bridge Lane/Cromwell Road signals
  • Southern Access Road Phased Approach – development of new A47 roundabout
  • Elm High Road/Weasenham Lane roundabout
  • A47 / Broadend Road Roundabout
  • Relocation of A47/Elm High Road roundabout, with further development and delivery towards the end of the short term package (subject to funding approval)

The phased Southern Access Road approach, and the new package of short-term schemes, will now be taken to the County Council’s Economy and Environment Committee, Fenland District Council’s Cabinet and Wisbech Town Council later this month to seek approval to recommend these schemes to the CPCA and The Business Board.

These important transport enhancements are a partnership approach which has not only support from the Wisbech, Fenland and Cambridgeshire councils but also the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk along with Norfolk County Council due to the location of the town’s infrastructure and communities straddling the county border.

A Wisbech Access Strategy spokesperson said: “The local community feedback has helped shape the future of transport in Wisbech to ensure both road and rail proposals support each other and that the important government funding for the Wisbech Access Strategy is not jeopardised.

“These essential improvements to the infrastructure of Wisbech will enable the much needed housing and economic growth for this area of North Cambridgeshire. It also demonstrates the effective partnership approach across all tiers of Local Government and the important role the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority have played with funding support.”

The spokesperson added: “The Wisbech Access Strategy has been tested to make sure it offers the best solution to address existing transport problems in and around the town of Wisbech.  Local people were very clear about the need to protect the Wisbech Rail project, as a result the plans were amended after listening to the consultation responses.  The improvement schemes will encourage growth and regeneration, improve accessibility, and help support the delivery of more than 3,500 new homes and 2,500 new jobs for the Capital of the Fens.”

The outline scheme design drawings along with detailed reports for each location, and the process followed can be found on Fenland District Council website at: http://fenland.gov.uk/wisbechaccess

20mph limit is more dangerous

20mph limit is more dangerous but too costly to reverse, council admits

Today, in the Daily Telegraph:

Reducing the speed limit to 20mph has caused a rise in death and serious injuries, a council has admitted, but is refusing to reverse the scheme because it will cost too much.

Bath and North East Somerset Council spent £871,000 bringing in the 13 new speed zones just 12 months ago.

But one year on, a report has found that the rate of people killed or seriously injured has gone up in seven out of the 13 new 20mph zones.

The review of the traffic control measures warns that this is a problem nationally, adding: “There is no simple explanation for this adverse trend but it could be that local people perceive the area to be safer due to the presence of the 20mph restrictions and thus are less diligent when walking and crossing roads, cycling or otherwise travelling.”

Despite the council’s own report concluding that there is “little in the way of persuasive argument for continuing the programme in the future”, deputy leader Patrick Anketell-Jones has admitted there simply isn’t the money available to reverse the 20mph zones.

The Conservative councillor said: “It has cost over £800,000 to roll out the 20mph zone and it would probably cost the same to reverse them.

“We just haven’t got the money. I’m pretty sure the 20mph zones will stay in place for the foreseeable future.”

It adds that the rise in casualty numbers and severity would “suggest against further expansion of area based schemes.”

In the 12 months since each 20mph zone was installed the rate of people killed or seriously injured has gone up in seven out of the 13 areas.

The reductions had been seen in central Bath whilst the worsening was largely in outlying rural areas.

The report added: “Casualty severity has worsened marginally in Bath and more so in outlying towns. Again, this is reflective of the national situation.”

This is not the first warning that 20mph areas are more dangerous. In 2010 the Department for Transport reviewed the scheme in Portsmouth, one of the first areas to adopt it, and found that number of people killed or seriously injured on affected roads actually went up, not down, after the limit was lowered.

Retired civil servant Simon Marshall, 58, from Lower Weston, called on Bath council to review the 20mph speed limits, calling them “unduly restrictive”.

And he said he was astonished to see the report and learn that the council couldn’t afford to reverse the zones, despite rising numbers of deaths and serious injuries.

He said: “The facts are that the numbers of people being killed and injured are going up since the zones were introduced.

“More people are being hurt because less people are taking care, and the council are saying that they can’t afford it.

“To my mind that’s saying that people are being seriously hurt but we are not prepared to stump up the cash to stop that happening.”

The Government’s current guidance remains that more traffic authorities should consider introducing the lower limits.

A nationwide review of 20mph limits published by the The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) last month concluded: “A large number of evaluation studies have demonstrated a link between the introduction of 20mph zones and a subsequent reduction in casualties. The size of the reductions and the consistency of results over a wide number of areas are further evidence for this link.”

However, their review pointed out that 20mph zones in which other traffic calming measures were introduced alongside the reduction in limit were much more effective.

In Bath and North East Somerset they brought in the changes with a speed reduction and signs to indicate it only.

The RoSPA report noted: “20mph limits without traffic calming also reduces traffic speed, although this effect is smaller than when they are introduced with traffic calming or other measures. Their lower cost means that wider areas can be covered.”

I believe this qualifies as a complete vindication of what I and others have been saying for the last few years. 20MPH zones, or “Twenty’s Plenty” not only don’t stack up, but actually make our communities more dangerous.

South Brink Speeding

South Brink Speeding

At the last Full Council meeting of Wisbech Town Council I proposed that the portion of South Brink which runs from Tesco up to the Malt Drive Estate would be a good place to benefit from this year’s Minor Highways bid.

One of the most common complaints I get as a Councillor is speeding and that section of South Brink is that part which causes the most concern in my Ward.  It is a “rat run” for people wanting to escape traffic along Cromwell Road and because it is long, quiet and very straight it seems to encourage fast and dangerous driving.  To compound the problem, this is an area which has an above average number of pedestrians and users of mobility scooters, many of whom feel threatened by the speed and carelessness they perceive in some drivers.

All year I have promised my constituents that I would try and get a Minor Highways Bid through to address this.  We took Speedwatch there on a few occasions and that helps a little, but what the road really needs are some speed reduction measures to discourage the temptation to race along there.

The County Councillor for the area, my friend and colleague Samantha Hoy, agreed with me and has seconded my proposal.  Town Council supported my proposal and it was put forwards to County Council as our official bid this year.

At this point I have kept it deliberately vague.  We have a meeting with the County Council Highways Officers on-site next week to look at what measures would be best and what can be afforded within the limits of the Minor Highways scheme.  But I am very pleased to be able to keep my promise and push this another stage towards resolution.

Meanwhile, Through The Looking Glass

Meanwhile, Through The Looking Glass

I have never really thought of Cllr. Paul Clapp as a political mastermind, but I have to give it to him.  His latest piece of spin is truly exceptional in both its avoidance and sheer gall.  I probably should be surprised that a local newspaper would give it the time of day, but I’m not. :)  Here it is: Link

This is what it says:

Faded white lines on a busy zebra crossing in Wisbech are to be re-painted after eight months of what a councillor has said had become a potential death trap.

The crossing in Churchill Road, that takes pedestrians from the Horsefair shopping centre to the garage on the other side, is to see the lines re-instated by county council workers on Friday August 26.

“With the lines faded, motorists new to the area had no idea it was a crossing point and people have been reporting near misses for months, said councillor Paul Clapp.

“I’m delighted it’s being repainted but it should never have got that bad in the first place.

“I’ve nearly been squashed there countless times and I know of plenty others in the same situation. It was like a death trap.”

He added: “It’s all down to Government cuts slowing down essential work such as this.”

Other work being carried out on the same day includes a keep clear sign being re-instated in Norwich road at the junction with Kennedy Court and white line painting in Wisbech North.

Councillor Virginia Bucknor said “The crossing is in a terrible condition but in addition it is very poorly designed for how busy that roundabout is now.

“It was put there 30 years ago when Wisbech didn’t have half the traffic of today.

“The town has gone from a population of 20,000 to more than 44,000 yet the highways infrastructure has been neglected for decades and cannot cope.”

A pedestrian trying to cross in 2016 was a very different story to one crossing thirty years ago due to traffic volume, she added.

And this is what I would propose it SHOULD say:

Faded white lines on a busy zebra crossing in Wisbech are to be re-painted after eight months of County Councillor failure to address a potential death trap.

The crossing in Churchill Road, that takes pedestrians from the Horsefair shopping centre to the garage on the other side, is to see the lines re-instated by county council workers on Friday August 26.

“With the lines faded, motorists new to the area had no idea it was a crossing point and people have been reporting near misses for months, is what could have been said by councillor Paul Clapp, who is the elected County Councillor for the area and whose job it is to make sure this sort of work gets done in a timely fashion so that people are not put at risk. “Why are you blaming the Government for your inability to do your job?” a balanced and investigative reporter interested in the truth could have asked.

“I’m delighted it’s being repainted but it should never have got that bad in the first place. If only I had been able to do the very thing that I was elected to do. Ah well, never mind.”

“I’ve nearly been squashed there countless times and I know of plenty others in the same situation. It was like a death trap. Somebody needs to get hold of the person responsible and give them a piece of their mind. Has anybody got a mirror?

He could have added: “It’s all down to Government cuts slowing down essential work such as this.” The fact that the work is being done may seem to prove that it had nothing at all to do with “Government Cuts” and more to do with bureaucracy and effective representation, but that’s definitely not the case. Nope. No Chance At all. Ahem.

Councillor Virginia Bucknor could have said “The crossing is in a terrible condition but in addition it is very poorly designed for how busy that roundabout is now. If my current County Councillor was a Conservative I’d be quick to lay the blame, but since its UKIP and I’m terrified they might stand against me in an election because I know I’d lose, I’ll not mention the Councillor at all.”

“The town has gone from a population of 20,000 to more than 44,000 yet the highways infrastructure has been neglected for decades and cannot cope. If only there were people we elected to County Council to make sensible decisions about spending priorities….”

Nevertheless, nice work Paul.  It’s like a shopkeeper moaning about the window displays in their own shop.  “Nobody is buying anything!  If only I had a better window display!”  :)

Anybody would think there was an election coming next year.  :)

Return Of Twenty’s Plenty

Return Of Twenty’s Plenty

The old “20 is Plenty” appears to be making a reappearance for 2016.  I can only guess the delightful lady of Waterlees and her honourable and respectful husband have run out of ideas.  But in a way I do feel for them.  They can hardly complain about Constantine House anymore, the place they and their supporters didn’t believe would ever be repaired.  Because it’s repaired.

They can’t go after Garry Tibbs and Rob McLaren about The Bell pub site and the Old Football Ground in Kirkgate given that those two have managed to get more movement on those issues in their first year as a team than the previous gentleman Councillor did in seven years.

They can’t change the name of their Ward again.  Virginia Bucknor has previously said that changing the name “Waterlees” to “Waterlees Village” would “bring the community together.”  You may or may not agree with that, dear reader, but the fact is they’ve already done it so they really can’t do it again.  Unless they change the name to Waterlees World or something, but that sounds a little too much like a theme park.

They could add to their “Jobtrack” statistics if they wanted to, though I think that people have long since seen through the truth in those tiny tiny characters on their website.

No, they really want to make Highways their issue. They could volunteer for Speedwatch, but that would mean admitting that our new Speedwatch Committee was quite a good idea and I guess that just wouldn’t do, would it?  So the old “20s Plenty” paperwork is taken from some rusty filing cabinet and the ropey statistics and weak arguments given a dust down.

As usual they attempt to claim that the opposition just said “no” for the sake of it.  They do seem to enjoy playing the victim.  In fact, as they well know, we debated, discussed and wrote extensively about their scheme and the opposition to it was logical and fairly considered.  (Please see bottom for previous blog posts about the issue.)

But here’s where they fell down last time and where they will no doubt fall down again.  At no time have any of the rest of us opposed their scheme for Waterlees.  Although most people I know think it is a bonkers idea which will cost money and achieve next to nothing, it’s their ward.  They are the elected Councillors.  If they want to squander money on signs that everybody will ignore and the Police broadly will not enforce, that’s up to them.

But, and this can’t be said enough times, highways is a COUNTY COUNCIL function.  The Bucknors need to stop trying to get money out of the Town Council for road signs and changes.  They continually extol the virtues of Cllr Alan Lay and Cllr Paul Clapp, who are their friends and allies.  These guys are County Councillors.  All they have to do to implement their plan for Waterlees is to get their County Councillors to get them the cash and they can go right ahead.  It’s very hard to see how this could be any more obvious.  They and their County Council friends should just get on and do it and stop all the endless talking about it.

Previous posts:

http://www.stevetierney.org/is-twenty-plenty/
http://www.stevetierney.org/ive-heard-20mph-all-before/
http://www.stevetierney.org/twenty-is-running-on-empty/

Consultation On Streetlighting

Consultation On Streetlighting

Cambridgeshire County Council wishes to achieve financial savings of approximately £272,000 by switching off street lights across Cambridgeshire between midnight and 6.00 am each day.

Under this proposal a total of 1,449 street lights would be affected in Wisbech; and Wisbech Town Council has been asked whether it would be prepared to contribute financially towards the cost of retaining streetlighting during those hours, on particular roads within the town, with effect from the financial year 2016/17.

The cost of retaining full operation of the 1,449 street lights would be £12 per light per annum (increasing by inflation and fuel costs each year), plus an annual administrative charge of £65. The total cost for 2016/17 would be £17,403.00.

In order for Wisbech Town Council to decide whether to meet this cost, they wish to know what the residents of Wisbech think about the proposal.
If the decision is made to fund full illumination, this would become part of the Wisbech Town Council budget proposals for 2016/2017. If an increase in the annual Parish Precept was required, this would be an increase of 8.4%

Please see the Council website for the figures for what this would cost your Band of household. http://www.wisbechtowncouncil.org.uk/streetlightssurvey.html

If you are a Wisbech Parish Council Tax payer you can make your views known by completing the survey below. For your vote to be counted, you must include your name, address and postcode – details will only be used to verify residency in Wisbech Parish.

The deadline for your views is 5pm on Friday 25 September.
The majority view will be a strong guide to the council’s decision, and the results of the survey will be published in the Minutes.

Just Admit It

Just Admit It

On ShapeYourPlace Cllr. Virginia Bucknor (Independent) says:

“Hi Mike, I’m having the same problem with CCC Highways. I reported a really serious hole in a road in Waterlees on 1st May, they acknowledged with a Highways ref number and nothing further.

I’ve chased them via a senior CCC officer and still no reply – and the hole is of course even bigger and more dangerous – particularly for motorbikes – as all this rain fills up the holes so they can’t see to avoid.
I just don’t know HOW to get a response.”

Ladies and gentlemen, at what point will these collaborators admit that the UKIP County Councillors are not doing their job?

Virginia Bucknor – for all that we are not pals – is a competent and diligent Councillor. But it should not be up to her to chase “a very senior officer”, it should be up to the County Councillor.

Virginia Bucknor is in regular contact with the UKIP fellows. They came along to support her 20MPH Project at Town Council recently. Yet while she complains about the “lack of response” from a “senior Council Officer” she does not even mention the UKIP County Councillor?

Back when Samantha Hoy was the County Councillor – Cllr. Bucknor would not have been hesitant to complain about performance and lay the blame where it would have belonged – at the elected County Councillors door. But she would not have had the opportunity because Sam Hoy did the job she was elected to do.

How many times do people have to say: “What’s going on with Highways?” “Why are these repairs so badly handled?” “What has happened to County Council” before they are forced to admit that what has happened is exactly what we warned would happen? But nope – they’ll keep excusing these Councillors because to do otherwise would be to admit they were wrong. And that’s never gonna happen.

Sidenote:  How, precisely, will Clapp & Lay deliver tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of pounds from the County Council coffers to switch all our town’s signs to 20MPH if CCC can’t even answer a question about a pothole in a timely fashion anymore?

I’ve Heard 20MPH All Before

This post has been submitted by a contributor. The author of this guest post would like to stress that it an expression of personal opinion and does not represent the opinion, official or otherwise, of any official body or authority, of the owner of this blog (Steve Tierney) or of any other person or institution. (Future guest posts by other contributors would certainly be seriously considered. If you are interested – email Steve Tierney with details of what you’d like to write about.)

This particular Guest Post is written by Cllr. Sam Hoy, until recently the Mayor Of Wisbech, who is both a Town & District Councillor and has arguably the most experience in different roles of any Councillor in Wisbech, given that she has served on Town, District, County and the Fire Authority, as well as holding roles at both a local, area and regional level within her political party.

I’ve Heard 20MPH All Before

When I was County Councillor for Wisbech North, part of my area covered Waterlees and so the idea of 20MPH Speed Zone isn’t new to me. At one local meeting it was brought up that there had previously been a petition to get a 20MPH limit in Waterlees and it was presented to the County Council but nothing came of it.  The man who had organised it said he believed there was a need for it and whilst I had my doubts on it I understood I am there to represent the people – not my own views. Because of this I asked him to bring me another petition, the previous one had been used some years ago and I felt we needed an up-to-date one to see if the feeling was still the same. (This was when petitions actually meant something and hadn’t been devalued by over-use, unnecessary use and abuse.)  The petition never came, I don’t know if this was because there wasn’t enough support or some other reason but I still thought I would go and do my research on the issue, couldn’t hurt.

The first thing I did was to ask if we had some way of measuring the speed people were travelling in the area so we knew how much of an issue speeding was. We tried Speedwatch but people complained that it was too obvious as people saw it and slowed down.  So I contacted officers at the council and they explained they had these boxes we could use which covertly measure speed.  They had five in the whole of Cambridgeshire and as I needed them all I had to wait for a few months, but we did indeed get them!  I requested that they were put on the roads that I had the most complaints about speeding on which were; St Michael’s Avenue, Bath Road, Grosvenor Road, Ollard Avenue and Walton Road.  These boxes were down for two weeks and after this we looked at the results which showed that the average speed on each road was 26MPH or less.  So this didn’t appear to indicate that there was this speeding issue.

From driving around the area myself I didn’t understand how on some of the roads people were managing to speed as there were often so many parked cars you couldn’t speed if, for some reason, you wanted to.  I also met with the police who said they did not have the resources to enforce any limit that was put in.  I went back to the residents and Councillors Bucknor and explained all of this to them but they still wanted me to press on – so I went back to Officers to speak about options that were available.

There are two options available, a 20MPH LIMIT and a 20MPH ZONE.  These are very different to one another.

20mph Limits

These ARE legally enforceable by the police, a traffic regulation order would go in the local ‘paper to advertise the change and take any objections to the proposal.  If that went okay then new signs would need to be installed and repeater signs are legally required to remind people of the limit.  This is not very cheap as it requires lots of signs but it does mean the police can ticket those speeding – although they said they didn’t have the resources so that’s tricky!  The “20’s Plenty” campaign which campaigns for 20MPH everywhere says that the problem with limits is that there is “Nothing to stop drivers exceeding limit other than responsibility, other limit-conforming drivers and enforcement” so as we have no enforcement it’s just down to responsibility, yet allegedly people are already irresponsibly speeding so why would they suddenly stop? I know perhaps it’s because they will all agree that 20mph is the right speed to have, doubtful though as the Institute of Advanced Motorists found 55% of drivers don’t support 20MPH.

20mph Zones

These aren’t enforceable so if motorists break them and do the speed they want nothing can be done about it.  So hard to see how they will work – I mean people allegedly don’t stick to Thirty so why would they now stick to Twenty? Well I will tell you, whilst the Bucknors tell you this is a cheap easy scheme that can be done with a couple of signs at entrances to key roads, everyone else will tell you that’s not the case. Highways experts and the “20s Plenty campaign” themselves say that to have a chance of working zones MUST have physical speed reduction measures to work such as chicanes or speed bumps. Except there is a huge problem with all of this… in Wisbech I had many complaints about speed bumps in Clarkson Avenue causing vibrations and damaging people’s houses, so infuriated were the residents that they demanded their removal, so how can humps be an option for Waterlees?

The other option of a chicane has been tried on Walton Road, also with problems as residents don’t ever want the chicane directly outside their house which causes an issue, and when they are in residents said they found cars weren’t slowing down for them or were going slow through them and then speeding up. There is also general uncertainty as to whether the zones in general even work at all!  Just two days ago this was being discussed with an article in the Telegraph stating that these zones make rat running worse (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/10834659/Rat-running-made-worse-by-20mph-zones.html)

There is also a key difference in funding options. The county said they would only fund a limit reduction if the traffic was already travelling close to the new limit, they gave a figure of 10% so traffic would have to be travelling at 22mph or slower, Waterlees was just outside that.  I thought this sounded a bit odd to only fund it if people are already close to the limit but guidance from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents suggests “20mph limits are most appropriate for roads where average speeds are already low, and the guidance suggests below 24mph. The layout and use of the road must also give the clear impression that a 20mph speed or below is the most appropriate.” It believed that a limit wasn’t the way to go as it was unenforceable and not recommended from a highways perspective. The officers felt that a 20MPH zone may work but there would need to be a significant number of traffic calming measures to make it work which they estimated to be £500,000 given the amount of them that would be needed in an area as large as Waterlees. They did suggest that the Town Council could pay but the vast cost seemed out of reach for a Town Council so that option was ruled out.

They did however explain that the Wisbech Market Town Transport Strategy was there and had a pot of funding to allow for major schemes in the town in the future. This sounded great! What a winner I was onto!  I was however very cautious that I didn’t feel that this would work, I really was worried that we would have a zone that no one would stick to so we would have the same complaints we get now, yet on top of this we would have complaints about the traffic calming measures, it seemed a really really bad idea.  I had in the back of my mind that residents had asked for this and I am there to represent them and so I thought of a way forward, get the idea of a 20MPH Zone into the strategy so it was there before the deadline passed but put in that we needed to have a consultation first in which we fully outlined what this Zone involved so people knew all the facts. Then, if residents really did want it then we could go on and spend the money.
However, I then lost the election and couldn’t continue so there it sat.  It is still in the Strategy though – ready to go – so I was very confused indeed when I saw the proposal to Town Council.  I mean what can we do about it?  The County are funding it if the consultation comes out in favour so why would the Town Council fund it?  Makes no sense!

All I can think is one of two things, the first thing could be that Virginia Bucknor doesn’t think she will get the new County Councillor’s support?  But it is her job to convince him and then for for him to do his job.  The Town Council can’t fund something that isn’t done due to incompetence or the inability of the local District and County Councillors to talk to each other and fulfil their roles. The second reason could be that she knows it isn’t as popular as she thinks with motorists but she loves the Nanny State “something must be done” attitude and knows it will get her a headline in the paper and a chance to bash the “nasty” Tories.  Maybe it is none of these, maybe I am just cynical?  But I will tell you one thing for sure… anyone that tries to look at this issue reasonably won’t get met with reason, they will be met with “You want kids to die” or “Those other Parties just don’t care” or some other colourful rhetoric.  Truth is I don’t want anyone to get run over – adult or child – but I do think we must be realistic about things.  The argument for 20MPH often goes that it will make it less likely for a person to die but on that logic we may as well ban cars all together as that would have a 100% success rate stopping people getting run over!

The Bucknors’ Big Problem

The Bucknors’ Big Problem

Yesterday I wrote a long piece talking about the idea of 20MPH speed limits that is being proposed by Cllrs Bucknor and Bucknor.  My main feeling is that if there is a problem with speeding, it’s better tackled with hard speed reduction measures than some new signs for people to ignore.

But it doesn’t really matter what I think.  The Bucknors are bringing this issue to Town Council even though it’s really nothing to do with Town Council.  You could argue that they’d like the “weight” of Town Council behind them as they take the Campaign forwards.  Or you could argue that it’s a good way to get some headlines on a campaign.  Depending on how cynical you felt about their motives.

But this entirely misses the point and the point is this.  Speeding is a Highways issue.  Highways is a County Council issue.  All four local County Councillors belong to UKIP.  So in order to push forwards 20MPH zones, the Bucknors don’t need Town Council’s approval.  They need the approval of four ‘Kipper Councillors and their larger UKIP group at County Council.

So the question they should be asking is: What do UKIP think about 20MPH zones?

Here’s your answer: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/birmingham-councillors-vote-20mph-speed-6842819

From the Birmingham Mail:-

Birmingham councillors have ignored fierce opposition to roll out plans for a city wide 20 mph speed limit on residential roads.

The council’s cabinet has voted to plough ahead with a pilot scheme for inner city areas which it claims will improve road safety and make streets more attractive to pedestrians and cyclists.

But there has been opposition from UKIP members, who staged an anti-20mph limit protest outside the council house on Monday, and from the Conservatives who called for the limits to be focused on areas around schools and high streets – where the majority of accidents take place.

Cabinet member for a safer city Coun James McKay said that although 60 per cent of residents had opposed the limit he believed that they had misunderstood the detailed proposal.

He said: “There will not be 20mph limits on main roads and because of that the feared increase in journey times is very low.”

He said that pilot schemes in the central and south of the city area would demonstrate to road users how they work before the limit is rolled out further afield.

The pilots are likely to start in places like Moseley and Selly Oak where support for the limits was highest before being rolled out to more sceptical parts of the city.

Tory deputy leader Coun Robert Alden (Cons, Erdington) said: “People are particularly in favour of 20mph limits outside schools and high streets. It’s a shame you are not looking to focus around them.”

But Coun McKay said that a ‘pepperpot’ of 20mph limits and 30mph limits would confuse motorists.

UKIP spokesman Keith Rowe, said: “We are opposing this measure which we feel will increase journey times, increase costs to the motorist and to businesses, add to pollution, add to driver anger and frustration and cost £7 million to set up.”

He also questioned whether it would deter dangerous drivers.

“Birmingham has a great motoring heritage and our council should be helping traffic to flow safely,” he added.

Following the decision to go ahead the first 20mph limits will be installed, following consultation with local communities, by this time next year.

Sounds familiar, huh?  A bunch of Lefties trying to impose wide 20MPH Controls, despite 60% of the population being against them.  Even saying that the 60% who are against them must “not understand” the argument (unbelievable arrogance, common on the Left.)  Massive populist opposition from UKIP, via a petition (yep, that old favourite of ‘Kippers everywhere.)  A small handful of sensible Conservatives saying: “Why don’t we just solve the actual problems, instead of all these militant positions on everything?”

Anyway, here’s UKIP Walsall wheeling out (excuse the pun) their “motoring expert” to bash a potential 20MPH speed limit.
http://ukipwalsall.org/tag/20mph/

What I find particularly fascinating is that if the ‘Kippers DO throw national policy to the wind and throw in with the Bucknors – they’d then be the ones who had to secure the funding and push through the policy at County Council.  If they succeeded they’d have proven UKIP’s various national policy claims to be lies.  If they failed to get through a policy they’d jointly championed, they’d look completely and utterly ineffectual.

So here’s the thing the Bucknors need to contend with.  They are proposing a Highways Policy that UKIP have shown themselves to be strongly opposed to across the country on numerous occasions.  All four of their County Councillors are UKIP.  So, either the local ‘Kippers have to demonstrate that they don’t share the beliefs of their colleagues across the country or the Bucknors have a big problem.