Brakes put on £500k plans to cut speed limits across North East Lincolnshire
PROPOSALS for a £500,000 scheme to reduce speed limits across North East Lincolnshire have been put on hold following a request for "evidence" to "justify" councillors giving them their support.
As reported, North East Lincolnshire Council's plans to slow traffic on roads ranging from the A180 and A18, to residential streets in the wards of East Marsh and Sidney Sussex – in the hope of reducing fatal and serious accidents – proved controversial.
The proposals were first challenged by Hayden Dawkins, 46, of Forest Way, Humberston, who launched a petition calling for a committee made up of councillors, traffic engineers and – most importantly – ordinary road users, to revise the plans.
The matter was then called-in to a meeting of North East Lincolnshire Council's Regeneration, Housing and Scrutiny Committee by Councillor Philip Jackson (Waltham) who said he was concerned there may be ways of "getting more bang for our buck".
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Jason Longhurst, the council's assistant executive director for planning, transportation and housing, told the committee that the plans were not and never had been "a fait accompli" and that a full public consultation had always been planned.
He said that the proposals had been drawn up as part of the Local Transport Plan, in line with central government direction and in consultation with Humberside Police, on the basis of traffic flow, average speed and accident statistics.
However, although all councillors were happy to back plans for 20mph zones around schools, Councillor Jackson called for a select committee to be formed which would undertake a full scrutiny review of the rest of the proposals before any consultation began.
Councillor Jackson, a long-standing member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: "We need to be sure that if we are spending that amount of money, we are getting the best value in terms of the number of lives and injuries we are going to save, and I am not convinced this is the best way to do this."
He also suggested a number of alternatives to cutting speed limits which he believed would reduce accidents.
These included extending unbroken white lines on the A18 to prevent overtaking where it was "unsafe" and "improving road safety" at roundabouts to reduce collisions. He said: "We also need to ensure we keep traffic moving. It is vital for the local economy."
He was backed by Councillor John Fenty (Con, Humberston and New Waltham) who said it would be a "dereliction of his duty as a councillor" not to review the accident figures and traffic studies used to formulate the plans before making a decision.
Chairman of the committee Andrew De Freitas (Lib Dem, Park) said he believed public consultation was "vital".
But, he added: "I am very distressed when people say a child hasn't been killed on a particular road, so it isn't a problem. We should not have to wait for someone to be killed."
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Dawkins said: "I am very happy at the decision. At least we have got it stopped for the time being."
Keep up to date:
The committee backed Councillor Jackson's proposal, meaning that the matter will now be passed back to Alex Wallace, the council's portfolio holder for Environment and Strategic Housing, who will consider the committee's request.
Keep checking your Grimsby Telegraph for more details.