Warwickshire community groups could get more help to have 20mph speed limits for their towns and villages

Recommendations put forward by a Warwickshire County Council task and finish group included for the authority’s road safety team to notify councillors on how they could spend their delegated budgets on road safety measures including 20mph speed limits when appropriate

Community groups could be given more help in securing 20mph speed limits for their towns and villages after the matter was brought up at Warwickshire County Council.

Cabinet members had approved a series of recommendations put forward by a task and finish group at their April meeting and these included the road safety team notifying elected members on how they could spend their delegated budgets on road safety measures, including 20mph limits when appropriate.

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But a number of councillors called in the decision arguing that not all the evidence had been considered and that the group’s final report was contrary to the Council Plan.

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That prompted the matter to be discussed at a communities overview and scrutiny committee meeting this week [MON] when it was agreed that a seminar be held to consider some of the concerns raised.

Ahead of the meeting, four members of the public including representatives from Radford Semele Parish Council and Southam Town Council put forward a case for the support of more 20mph speed limits.

Cllr Bill Gifford (Lib Dem, Leamington Milverton), one of those who signed the call in and sat on the task and finish group, also urged a rethink.

He said: “The 30mph limit was set nearly 90 years ago and no real evidence was used at the time while we now have plenty of evidence to say that 20mph is the sensible speed limit in a built-up area.

“What I would really suggest is that the county council be bold and look at the evidence from elsewhere. We need to be bold because we stated as a council that we want a modal shift and it is difficult to get that. Reducing the speed limit in towns and villages would certainly help. If people don’t feel safe walking or cycling then they are more likely to use their cars so that in itself is a good reason.”

Cllr Jonathan Chilvers (Green, Leamington Brunswick), another of the call in signatories, said evidence from the Department for Transport (DfT) showed that 20mph schemes brought about quality of life and community benefits and encouraged healthier and more sustainable transport modes such as walking and cycling.

Cllr Wallace Redford (Con, Cubbington and Leek Wootton), the council’s portfolio holder for transport and planning, said DfT guidance suggested that speed limits should be evidence-led and that funding was available from the community action fund and casualty reduction fund.

He added: “There is nothing that I’ve heard here that cannot be achieved under the scheme that went through cabinet.

"There is finance there for members there to tap into.”

Cllr Tim Sinclair (Con, Stratford North) said: “My view is that we take no action but that the spirit of some of these matters is considered at a seminar.”