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/

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

Star College adds its weight to road safety campaign

The National Star College based at Ullenwood has thrown its weight behind the new road safety campaign called ‘No Crash’.

Hugh Piggott (left), Simon Redmond (right, Andoversford Parish Council, Paul Hodgkinson (3rd right) plus Star College employees by the A436

The College is a provider of specialist further education, training and personal development for young people aged 16 to 25 with complex physical and mental disabilities. Its employees and students use the nearby A436 regularly and are increasingly concerned about the dangers which the busy road present.

Hugh Piggott works for the College and lives along the A436 between the Air Balloon and Seven Springs – he has seen the traffic along the road increase beyond recognition in the last 20 years, “Both the College and the Cotswold Hills Golf Club exit onto the A436 – the junction is very dangerous and it would be much safer if the speed limit were reduced to 40 from the current 50mph.”

“A large number of staff leave the College via the A436 at the Cowley junction and at peak times its very difficult to cross. I’m concerned for their welfare as its a blind corner. In fact, as you approach the junction you can’t see anything coming at you.”

Reducing the speed limit to 40mph would also make it eligible for the new Community Speed Watch initiative where residents are trained up to take speed readings.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Churn Valley) supports a lower speed limit along the road, “There have been accidents along that stretch of road and the College and residents are interested in being part of the Community Speed Watch, but that only triggers in when there’s a 40mph limit. So, as part of No Crash we’re calling on the authorities to really look at helping to cut speed along the road.”

No Crash are meeting with the police, County Council and county councillors in early September to discuss their requests. The campaign group is cross-party and cross-parish.