Community demands urgent action over ‘racetrack’ road

Residents of villages along the A436 have formed an action group to pressurize the Highways Department and police. They want measures actioned urgently to combat the unacceptable speed of traffic along the stretch of road from the Air Balloon Roundabout to Bourton on the Water.

Paul Hodgkinson (right) with residents and councillors from along the A436

The action group, to be called the North Cotswolds Rural area Against Speeding Harm (No Crash), will provide a focus and co-ordinated approach to the authorities. The A436 is a major thoroughfare for traffic from Oxford, Cheltenham and Gloucester and is used by tourists visiting our area. Running past Andoversford and Shipton and through a series of hamlets it currently has large stretches which are derestricted and the lowest speed limit is 50mph.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (CDC, Churn Valley) chaired the first meeting of the new group last month and welcomed the joint effort as a good example of communities working together for a common goal, “There is a history of serious speeding along this road. Residents living along it have not only seen constant increases in traffic but talk about the road being used as a racetrack by some drivers. It’s out of exasperation at the lack of action in countering this that we have all joined together to do something positive.”

“The villages next to the A436 also have the same issues – Shipton, Andoversford and Syreford all experience speeding traffic where people are living, working and going to school.”

The group also consists of residents Peter Hellyar, Peter Ellis, Amanda Kitson, Robert Buck, Peter Davies and Frank Hemming along with Hugh Piggott from the National Star College and supported by Simon Redmond, Andoversford Parish Council Chairman and Shipton Parish Council Chairman Robin Finch.

The group has put together a list of demands which they say are ‘easily done and sensible solutions’. They will be presenting these to local councillors and police to launch their campaign.

Peter Hellyar, who lives alongside the A436 near Shipton, has taken numerous speed readings and is frustrated at the lack of action by the authorities against those who speed, “We have had awful problems with some vehicles. I do not believe that any person with any common sense would take the risk of driving at more than 100mph knowing that if they get caught they risk losing their licence.”

Amanda Kitson, another resident who lives by the A436 between Shipton and Bourton, described the impact on him and other neighbours, “We are taking our life into our own hands pulling into and off the road because of the excessive speed of drivers. There’s been no willingness from the police to take any action and we need managed enforcement of the limit.”

Councillor Hodgkinson said he hoped that the forgotten voices of residents would now be heard, “My own experience of campaigning for greater road safety along the A435 and as part of the successful SAFER group at Leckhampton Hill is that people power can win out. Accidents do drop and speeds can come down too as a result of heightened awareness. We all hope that the quality of life experienced by residents along this stretch of road can be improved. Now that the Government is consulting on reduced speed limits in rural areas, the will is clearly there to promote road safety.”

The Group will be meeting again shortly to share its solutions with the authorities.