The following report was given to the Parish Council meeting on Monday 7 June by Suzanne Bonfield, Community Speed Watch Co-ordinator:
Our 12 dedicated and conscientious volunteers continue to monitor speed checks 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off. We are still just doing 1 session per day at the moment, as due to the Covid 19 regulations, the camera must be cleaned between the sessions. We have also resumed checks at the Village Hall, as well as Sandleaze and Park Farm. Motorists doing 36MPH and over are reported to the police. For our own records, we also count separately those doing less than 36MPH, but who are still breaking the speed limit.
The 85th percentile was mentioned a few weeks ago. I tend not to attach too much importance to the 85th percentile as it is clear that statistics do not always paint a true picture of what is really happening. You only have to look at our recent Speed Watch figures to see how many motorists are speeding through the village. In just 11 hours monitoring during April – May, we reported 67 motorists to the police and a further 228 were found to be breaking the speed limit. During May – June in just 12 hours, 79 motorists were reported to the police and a further 306 were found to be breaking the speed limit.
It is clear then that we need Community Speed Watch to continue to raise awareness to motorists and to try and help keep the High Street safe for our residents.
Another of our figures which is quite surprising is the number of vehicles going through the village – over 3 and a half thousand during the 11 hours we monitored during April – May and a similar number during May – June. On a walk along the High Street or whilst standing in the front garden, how often do you witness something dangerous happening, something which potentially could cause harm to other road users? Speeding, overtaking along the narrow stretches, HGVs mounting the pavement in order to pass each other either side, pedestrians having their elbows hit by wing mirrors whilst walking on the pavement, damage to residents’ vehicles and property. The C20 particularly the High Street is really a country lane which is being overused. The road is narrow, the pavements are narrow and, in some places, pavements are only on 1 side so pedestrians need to cross to continue. We really need to think about the road because things can only get worse unless we try and do something. The installation of a SIDs will help and we welcome the Parish Councils offer to pay for us to have one for the village. This I believe will be discussed during the meeting later this evening.
When I was on the Parish Council, one evening I sat with Richard Gamble who at the time was our Wiltshire Councillor and he discussed the fact that he was looking at an HGV route through the county to try and reduce the number of HGVs going through the villages.
As far as I know this never happened. However, Tamara Reay our new Wiltshire Councillor, says that she is very aware that traffic in Worton (and indeed other communities in Devizes Rural West) is very much an issue and that she will be a strong voice at Wiltshire Council for additional traffic management measures. In particular to address the volume of freight lorries and vans through our rural areas, as well as policies to encourage cycling and walking as alternatives, where possible.
Would the Parish Council be willing to take this matter up further with Wiltshire Council and try and ensure that we keep up the pressure on the Wiltshire Council to look at ways of reducing the volume of traffic through our village, in particular large vehicles?