Derbyshire council expected to reject 20mph ‘Green Towns’ speed limit plans for Buxton and Long Eaton
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Conservative-controlled Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet is due to decide upon the recommendations of a Green Towns initiative report to refuse the proposed plans at a meeting on Thursday, December 7, after dozens of residents raised views both for and against the environmental scheme during a public consultation.
Police stated that the speed limit proposals would present them with an unreasonable enforcement task particularly without any traffic-calming measures to aid compliance, and High Peak Buses objected to the Buxton scheme on the grounds it will have significant negative consequences for its business and the efficiency of its services.
Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Assets and Transport, Councillor Charlotte Cupit, said: “We will discuss this issue at our cabinet meeting on December 7. Our recommendation is that we do not go ahead with the introduction of blanket 20mph speed limits in either town, taking on board the views of the public and Derbyshire Police.
“The results for Long Eaton were very clear, with many more people not wanting the 20mph speed limits. In Buxton, opinion was very much split down the middle for those who responded to our survey, but many more people disagreed who responded to the consultation run by Robert Largan MP.”
In Buxton, the council received 205 responses from the consultation, with 104 in favour and 100 against with one response recorded as ‘blank’.
High Peak Conservative MP Robert Largan’s personal consultation on the Buxton scheme yielded 409 responses with 201 disagreeing with the proposals, 70 agreeing with them, and 138 suggesting that a 20mph zone should only apply in residential areas and around schools and not on main roads.
The council stated that a total of 306 responses were received in Long Eaton with only 63 in favour of the proposals and 184 against them and 59 were recorded as ‘blank responses’.
Several responses were supportive of the proposed scheme in Long Eaton if the council was to remove the A-Road and B-Road network from the plans because they felt this proposal would only add further congestion to an already congested road network with vehicles driving at or below 20mph, according to the report.
Although the council feels the proposed Green Towns 20mph speed limit trial for Long Eaton and Buxton has merits it also feels that it needs public support and proactive police enforcement to work effectively.
Derbyshire County Council has been considering the consultation responses together with police concerns, and High Peak Buses’ objection alongside the council’s own highways and speed management plans, traffic sign regulations, speed limit reports and studies, and its Green Towns report.
The council’s Green Towns Consultation Outcome report on behalf off the Cabinet Member for Highways, Assets and Transport, Cllr Cupit, has recommended that the council does not proceed with the introduction of 20mph speed limits in areas surrounding the town centres of Buxton and Long Eaton affecting Buxton North and East, Buxton West, Long Eaton, Petersham, and Sawley.
Cllr Cupit said: “I know this issue has been the subject of lots of discussion and I’m grateful to everyone who took part in the consultation or who has contacted us to express their views.
“Given these 20mph speed limits were going to be enforced with signs only, I do think there needed to be support for them and the impacts they would have had.
“It was right to take time to give people the chance to have their say and, considering the feedback, I want to listen to what was said, and I don’t feel we can recommend the introduction of the speed limits.
“Going forwards, we will consider future speed limit changes in our towns or villages in line with our policies and data.”
However, based on the consultation outcomes for Buxton and Long Eaton, the council currently has no further proposals to trial 20mph speed limits at other locations within the county.
It has stated that any future requests will be considered in line with the guidance provided in the Speed Management Protocol Policy.
As part of MP Robert Largan’s survey, residents were asked what they would prioritise instead of a 20mph zone, and 59per cent wanted to prioritise improving bus services to reduce the number of cars on the road and 63per cent supported prioritisation of investment into railway infrastructure to help reduce the number of HGVs.
Making walking and cycling easier was also seen as a priority as was more police.
Mr Largan noted in response to people’s concerns Derbyshire County Council has recently been awarded £47m in Government funding for a Bus Improvement Plan, and as part of this investment, the 185 bus has been restored to Harpur Hill and Buxton Hospital.
He also said the Government has approved a £145m capacity based railway upgrade to the Hope Valley Line, which runs between Manchester and Sheffield and serves New Mills Central, Chinley, Edale, Hope and Bamford.