‘No Crash’ group fights for safer roads

A road safety group called ‘No Crash’ has been lobbying for road safety measures. It has been chaired by County Councillor Paul Hodgkinson and includes residents and parish councillors from Coberley, Shipton, Andoversford, Notgrove and Whittington.

Paul with Andoversford Primary School students at the opening of the School Safety Zone in 2015

The group has successfully lobbied for a School Safety Zone in Andoversford and for action to be taken against dangerous overtaking on the A436.

Now, the group has met again in June with residents and Paul says that further action will be taken to promote road safety:

“Parents with children at Andoversford Primary School have repeatedly voiced real safety concerns when walking to school along the busy roads with narrow pavements. A traffic survey was done by Glos Highways and showed that although most people were obeying the 30mph speed limit a significant minority weren’t. Not only that but even less drivers were taking notice of the flashing 20mph signs during peak school times.”

Glos Highways have now taken the concerns away to look at various options to slow traffic. Shipton already has a thriving ‘Community Speedwatch’ team of volunteers who are trained to check vehicle speeds. The aim is to get the same in place in Andoversford – if you’re interested please contact the Parish Council there.

 

 

No Crash – one year on

Residents and councillors who formed an action group to campaign for lower traffic speed are celebrating their first anniversary by issuing a report on progress.

The action group, the North Cotswolds Rural area Against Speeding Harm (No Crash), was set up to combat the excessive speeds of some motorists on the A436 and surrounding villages. The road is one of the busiest in Gloucestershire and runs between the Air Balloon and Bourton on the Water.

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

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

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (GCC, Bourton & Northleach) is chairman of the group, “Last August we launched this campaign in the face of ongoing concerns from Cotswolds residents over road safety in rural areas. Since then we’ve met with the authorities regularly and have lobbied them to take action. Gloucestershire Highways have been very helpful although there is still a desire for lower speed limits along part of the road. The police have committed to speed checks following their survey last November which recorded a staggering 92,000 vehicles speeding in just one week.”

Information was collected by the police from ‘speed data recorders’ in October and November 2012 along the road and showed the number and speed of vehicles. The highest speed recorded was 136mph at the old restaurant near Andoversford. In total, just over a quarter of a million vehicles were recorded, of which 92,000 had broken the speed limit.

Peter Hellyar, who lives on the busy road near Shipton is group secretary: “Speeding is now referred to by some as anti-social. Those of us who live along the A436 are literally in the firing line of traffic. The initial response from the police was reassuring. The tests they carried out backed up our view that there is a real speeding problem. However, we do feel frustrated and what we now need is a very visible and high profile speed check campaign by the police which will remind drivers of the speed limit.”

Hugh Piggott works at the Star College and lives near to the Air Balloon roundabout: “I’ve received a renewed request from members of our golf club to push for a 40mph limit on this stretch of the A436. That is what I want to see in place.”

The group has listed the road safety improvements achieved to date:

  • Hamlet signs have been put up to flag to drivers that they’re approaching some houses
  • Andoversford – ’20 is plenty’ temporary signs have been put up in the area around the school to alert drivers to the hazards there and to protect children. Highways have now confirmed that a ‘school safety zone’ will be out in place in the next 6 months (this would include yellow flashing lights at key school times and roadmarkings near to the school)
  • Lorry companies have been contacted by the group to alert them to some of their drivers exceeding the 40mph limit on the A436.
  • Shipton has launched a Community Speed Watch group in the village to check vehicles speeds.

Cllr Hodgkinson thanked Highways and police for the actions they’ve taken so far but added a word of caution, “We can see some real progress over the last year as a result of our campaign but more needs to be done. This is clearly a long term campaign!”

Now, the group is calling a public meeting for October to allow residents to see the progress made and let the authorities know what they would like to be tackled. Full details will be released next month.

See the press coverage here: http://www.cotswoldjournal.co.uk/news/10639291.Work_to_be_done_say_campaigners/

County Council election this Thursday May 2!

A councillor from the Cotswolds has made election history by producing a video for his campaign to be elected to Gloucestershire County Council.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Churn Valley) is standing for the Northleach & Bourton area this Thursday May 2. The ward also includes the Chedworth, Withington, Andoversford, Shipton and Brockhampton areas.

The video – filmed in Bourton, Northleach and along the A436 – is a personal account of Paul’s record of action. He talks about the campaign to reduce speeds along the A435, A436 and through our villages as well as the problems of over development and the need to bring empty properties back into use.

Paul says, “No other council candidate in Gloucestershire has made a video of this kind. It’s a different way of getting a message across and it just brings to life the issues I’ve been campaigning on already and which I feel strongly about.”

 

County Council Elections – May 2nd

On Thursday May 2 I’m putting myself forward to be the next county councillor for our area.

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I’m already an experienced Cotswold District Councillor for the last 6 years and am standing for the Northleach & Bourton area. This also includes the Churn Valley, Chedworth and Withington, Andoversford and Shipton areas.

I have a record of action. I led the campaign to stop the crazy Air Balloon roundabout proposals,  fought to bring in kerbside plastics recycling and have campaigned to reduce speeds along the A435, A436 and through our villages.

My priorities are:

  • Mending our roads properly – the County Council has failed spectacularly to do this
  • Keeping our greenfields intact whilst bringing empty properties back into use for affordable housing
  • Lowering the car parking charges across the Cotswolds
  • Supporting our village schools
  • Connecting with residents to make sure their concerns are listened to rather than neglected by the Council.

I’ve lived in the Cotswolds for 25 years. Now, I would be honoured to have your support on May 2.

Take a look at my campaign video here: http://vimeo.com/62418274

Thank you,

Paul Hodgkinson

 

No Crash group making “good progress” in bid to reduce speeds on A436

A stop speeding campaign to cut the number of deaths and collisions on a notorious road near Cheltenham is making good progress, say leaders.

Paul Hodgkinson with residents and councillors who formed 'No Crash' last year.

Paul Hodgkinson with residents and councillors who formed ‘No Crash’ last year.

Members of action group North Cotswolds Rural area Against Speeding Harm (No Crash) say they have made some initial breakthroughs in calls for improved signage along the A436 and surrounding villages.

The group was formed last year after residents voiced concerns over speeding on the route between the Air Balloon roundabout and Bourton-on-the-Water. Alarming figures released in December showed that 37 per cent of motorists broke the speed limit along the stretch with some travelling at up to 130mph.

Councillor Paul Hodgkinson, (Churn Valley), who is chairman of No Crash, said following meetings with police and Gloucestershire Highways, several improvements were planned.

They include:

·         A school safety zone in Andoversford to make it safer for children crossing including flashing signs to alert drivers.

·         Clearer warnings of upcoming junctions for motorists travelling along the A436.

·        Two new signs for the Hampen village hamlet to alert drivers that people live along the road.

·         A survey in Andoversford to look at the flow and direction of traffic through the village with a view to establishing whether traffic for the A40 should be diverted away from the village.

·         Gateway features for Shipton village to reduce speed at the entrance and exits.

Mr Hodgkinson said the moves were a good start to tackling issues on the road, which has been the site of numerous collisions over the years. Only last month there was a nine-car pile-up with two vehicles flipping onto their roofs.

He said: “Given that we only set up the group last summer we feel we are making good progress, but there is still a lot to do.

“We are still concerned about speed along the eastern parts of the A436 – in particular on the way to Bourton.

“Police have confirmed they have carried our regular speed checks along parts of the road, focusing on the old restaurant site near Andoversford.

“Quarry lorries have been seen regularly going over the lorry speed limit by our group members so police and Gloucestershire Highways are now also aware.

“Overall it’s good news so far. Progress is being made and tangible steps are being taken to improve safety.”

The No Crash group’s next meeting will be in April.

New figures show thousands of speeding vehicles on Cotswold road

Residents and councilors who formed an action group to campaign for lower traffic speed along a Cotswold road have been astonished by a new set of police figures.

Paul Hodgkinson and the No Crash group

Data collected from six points along the A436 between the Air Balloon Roundabout and Bourton on the Water shows a large number of vehicles travelling at over the speed limit.

The action group, the North Cotswolds Rural area Against Speeding Harm (No Crash), held a public meeting in Andoversford in September at which 50 residents voiced their concerns over road safety. The group was set up to combat the excessive speeds of some motorists on the A436 and surrounding villages.

Information was collected by the police from ‘speed data recorders’ in October and November along the road and shows the number and speed of vehicles. The highest speed recorded was 136mph at the old restaurant near Andoversford. In total, just over a quarter of a million vehicles were recorded, of which 92,000 had broken the speed limit.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (CDC, Churn Valley) is chairman of the group, “These figures do underline the extent of the problem. Whilst some spots show that the average speeds recorded were within the limit they also show just how many people ignore it. We always knew that speeding was a real issue, not just perception. Now, we are asking for regular action over the long term to promote road safety.”

“Last night we met with Inspector Clifford and he has committed to targeting areas along the A436 where the data shows that there is a particular speeding problem. Some checking will also take place near to the school in Andoversford where safety of children is a concern. This is a real step forward, but it is just the start.”

The meeting with the police was also attended by Simon Redmond (Chair of Andoversford PC), Robin Finch (Chair of Shipton PC), Hugh Piggott of the Star College and other Parish Councillors.

Peter Hellyar spoke at the meeting and is a resident along the A436 who has been frustrated by speeding cars and bikes for many years, “The police carried out a high profile check on traffic last month along with other checks in our villages – we thank them for that. However, we would like this problem resolved. Only regular enforcement of the speed limit along various parts of the road will show drivers that it’s unacceptable to use the road as a race track.”

The group is also lobbying Highways for changes to speed limits and features to promote road safety and will meet with them in the New Year to assess progress.

Cllr Hodgkinson added, “So far, our campaign has led to a greater awareness of policing on the road and that can only be good. We’re in this for the long haul and have signaled on behalf of the local community that we are very serious about this issue and our aim is to prevent accidents and save lives.“

See more about this story at: http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/Drivers-speeding-100mph-thousands-breaking-limit/story-17532496-detail/story.html

and

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-20632238

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.