Category Archives: Roads & Weather

SpID for Whittington

Residents living in the centre of the village are concerned about the speed of traffic past their houses.  It has been discussed by the Parish Council over a considerable number of years without any action being taken to try to secure a reduction in speeds.

The question was raised at the Parish Assembly on May 8th which was attended by five residents.  The Chairman agreed with the points listed below.

  1. The existing 30mph speed limit is too high given both the poor access onto Main Street from adjacent properties and lack of safe footpaths for much of the length of Main Street.
  2. Previous traffic surveys have shown that traffic speeds were rarely in excess of the existing speed limit.
  3. There had been no accidents on Main Street as a result of excessive speed.
  4. Although a speed limit of 20mph would be desirable it was possible that this could not be imposed by the County Council, there was also some doubt about the enforcement of lower speed limits.

Prior to the Parish Assembly in May 2017 the PC had discussed the possibility of installing a Speed Indicating Device but the PC minutes do not record any discussion in relation to the potential effectiveness of such devices nor do they record any information about the question of costs and funding.  There is no record of any discussions with the Highways Authority about the problem nor about other measures which might be taken

The Chairman admitted that he had no idea about the costs of purchasing and maintaining a SpID but he was under the impression that they would be met by the County’s Parish Champion.

Since the assembly the Parish Council has claimed that the points listed have been discussed but I can find no mention in the PC minutes of any discussion of or decisions taken to overrule the Chairman’s commitment.

I find this situation completely unacceptable and to be in clear breach of the Code of Conduct agreed by the PC, particularly in relation to:

Openness

Holders of public office should be as open as possible about the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands

Clearly it would be totally irresponsible for the Parish Council to acquire a SpID until they have made a proper case for so doing and given all residents the opportunity to understand the issues at stake.  This could easily be done at an open Parish Meeting with officers from the Highways Department present to outline the other options which might be available.

The alternatives are clearly set out in in The Department of Transport Advisory Leaflet 1/03.  No doubt the Parish Clerk or one of the Parish Councillors would be happy to lend any resident their copy.

Should the Parish Council ultimately decide to proceed careful consideration would need to be given to the siting of any device.  The position chosen for “the trial” must have been carefully considered, 30mph at that point is clearly inappropriate but the “Smiley Face” could have been taken as approval to travel at 30mph.  Fortunately, there were no accidents, had there been, the question of public liability would have been interesting to say the least.

Graham Williams

Gressingham SpID

A report, in Wagtail our Parish Magazine, on the proceedings of Gressingham Parish Council, throws new light on the intentions of that PC in respect of the use of a SpID.  The Wagtail report says:

“Caton Parish Council has kindly agreed to allow Gressingham to share one of Caton’s Speed Indicator Devices, (SpID) signs; this will be used periodically on the main road at both ends of the village.”

We had already reported earlier in this Blog that Lancashire Highways Department had installed a suitable plate on existing poles in Gressingham, to which a SpID could be fitted.

Loyn Bridge

Lancaster Guardian – Friday 23 September 2016

Lancashire County Council is alerting drivers to a diversion in place in the north of the county due to the closure of a bridge between Gressingham and Hornby.

The Loyn Bridge carries Gressingham Road over the River Lune, providing the only vehicle access over the river for some distance in either direction.

The 16th Century structure has been damaged after being struck by vehicles over recent days, with stonework atop the parapet wall assessed as being unstable.

Traffic is being diverted to the A65 at Kirby Lonsdale to cross the River Lune, using the A683 and B6254.

David Hurford, Lancashire County Council bridges manager, said: “We’re very sorry for the inconvenience caused by the closure of this bridge, particularly for people who live nearby and use it regularly to make local journeys.

“However, some of the stonework is currently in an unstable condition after the bridge has been struck by vehicles more than once in recent days, and we must close it for safety.

“Our only option is to close the bridge as the parapet wall has been struck on both sides which means there is not enough room to place safety barriers and allow room for vehicles to pass.

“Despite the inconvenience caused by the long diversion I would ask people not to remove the safety barriers, both for their own safety and anyone following them.

“We will let people know more about when the bridge may be reopened after we have made a full assessment of the damage.”

The Loyn Bridge was badly damaged during Storm Frank on Boxing Day 2015, being closed for several months for repairs to the bridge piers.

The bridge is a scheduled ancient monument and is Grade II* Listed.

Loyn Bridge re-opens

The bridge is finally open.  A County Council representative reports

“We still have work to do in the river to create the best conditions for the. In doing so we also need to undertake some work to protect the North East bank to stabilise it, but our work will be focused on the protection.

It is worth noting that there may be localised delays during the ensuing period as we receive deliveries and plant to the site but the road will be open. Apologies for delays but not everything has been within our control”