The Parish Council, on its website, have made the following announcement:
The Parish Council have arranged with the Lancaster City Council Speed Management team for the free trial of a speed indicating device, which will be fitted in Whittington within the next few days.
This is a temporary arrangement. The device will target one direction for a week and will then target the other direction. The exact mounting location will be determined when the device is installed.
Those of us who were sufficiently interested in our community to attend the Annual Parish Assembly on the 08th May 2017 will recollect the 15 minute discussion on this subject which took place that evening.
Eric Pelter, Chairman of the Parish Council, made specific commitments as to what would occur before this matter proceeded to the next stage. The verbatim transcript of what was said is below. Form your own view as to whether the PC have complied with the commitments it undertook. – Or are we wasting time attending public events called by the Parish Council.
EP – Eric Pelter, GW – Graham Williams, JK – John Keegan, IA – Ian Atkinson, BA – Barbara Atkinson, DF – Duncan Foster, GH – Gerald Hodgson.
GW – First of all on the Speed Indicating Device. I understood from the Minutes that the Council was going to consider the purchase of a speed indicating device and only go forward if it was warranted. From what you have just said the Council is still hell bent on the purchase of a speed indicating device. Can you confirm that?
EP – Yes, we are still looking into it.
GW – So even if it’s not justified you will still go ahead and do it?
EP – Who says it’s not justified?
GW – Who says it is?
EP – Well the point is, we put it forward to the village once we’ve got a statement that it can be done and we put forward to the village, do they want one? It’s entirely upto them isn’t it.
GW – What evidence is there that traffic is going through the village to any extent above the existing speed limit.
EP – There’s quite a lot. The point is Graham, if you live in Whittington, where your front door comes straight onto the road you’d know exactly how fast the traffic is travelling.
IA – I’ve seen them going through here too fast, the Police have said they go through here too fast.
GW – We have evidence from the County Council, who have conducted traffic surveys, none of which have shown that traffic speeds are grossly in excess of 30 miles per hour. In fact they are very rarely in excess of 30 miles per hour.
IA – It’s the bends that are the dangers in this village.
GW – So, what you’re saying is that 30 miles per hour might be too fast so what we should do, as a Parish, is look to reducing the existing level of 30 mph.
IA – Yes.
GW – In which case a Speed Indicating device is irrelevant. The first thing to do is to get the speed limit down to 20 mph.
EP- We’ve tried that. And it doesn’t work, we tried it a number of years ago, I think before you came to the village.
GW – About fifteen years ago the Parish Council decided to try to get a 20 mph speed limit. Fifteen years later there is still a need for a 20 mph speed limit but there is no correspondence between the Parish Council and the Local Authority saying “how do we get the speed limit reduced to 20 mph.
EP – If we still had a school here we could get the speed limit reduced to 20 mph. In every other Parish you go to it’s 20 mph where there’s a school. If there was a school here you’d get 20 mph.
GW – They have a 20 mph speed limit in Arkholme. In some places there is a 20 mph speed limit which is a general 20 mph speed limit which applies at all times. In Arkholme there is a 20 mph speed limit which is only applied when the school beacons are lit. So if you through Arkholme 7:00 o’clock at night at 30 mph your breaking the speed limit?
EP – If you go at 30 you are.
GW – But you said it’s 20 mph!
BA – It’s only 20 when the school is open.
GW – So, for about 20% of the year the speed limit through Arkholme is 20 mph.
BA – When the school’s open, yes.
GW – But the speed limit in the village, here, is 30 mph, for 100% of the year and we need a speed indicating device, which would authorise speeds through the village of 30 mph, regardless of whether there is a school or not, and I propose that before the Parish Council embarks of spending our money they investigate in writing with the local authority the possibility of getting a 20 mph speed limit imposed in this village and possibly in conjunction with Arkholme and Gressingham, where there are similar problems.
EP – Yes. We can do that.
JK – I think I’m correct in saying, Mr Chairman, and I’m fairly certain in saying, that the conditions in this village do not enable us to introduce a 20 mph speed limit. We do not have the conditions that are precisely laid down in the regulations as to what is required. A school is one of them, but it’s not the only one. We can have a 20 mph speed limit under other conditions but I know that there is a Minute, in the last 14 years, because I’ve seen it, where the Parish Council have been told “you can’t have a 20 mph speed limit”.
EP – I’m glad you said that John. That’s is as I understand it.
GW – So what’s to prevent the Parish Council writing to the County saying “we are still concerned about the speed of traffic through the village, what is the position related to a 20 mph speed limit?” which, by some bodies admission that 30 mph id too fast.
EP – Right Graham we’ll do that with pleasure, on your behalf.
GW – Second point. You said that the “Parish Champion” would pay for a speed indicating device. My understanding is that the Parish Champion will pay for a sign which indicates that there is a speed indicating device in the village. There is a hell of a lot of difference between the cost of a sign and cost of speed indicating devices and again I think the Parish Council should establish the facts before going any further.
EP – Yes we can do that before we go any further. We will put you point of view forward.
IA – Mr. Chairman, isn’t it possible to have one on loan from County.
EP – Yes we can have one on loan.
JK – That’s what Gressingham have.
EP – Have they approval yet?
JK – I don’t know but the bracket has been put up to support it.
EP – Yes. They promised us one on loan and then, after that, it will be up to cost. The trouble is you can have a battery operated one which has to be taken down to charge the battery, for health & safety reasons, or you can have a satellite one, but the satellite ones are a lot more dearer than the battery ones.
DF If we decided that 30 mph is too fast for the village, we I tend to agree with, what is the point of having a speed indicator that’s telling people that they are doing 30 mph when we want them to do 20 mph.
EP – That’s my point exactly, right.
DF – So I don’t see the point.
EP – Well the point of it is……
DF – If the maximum speed that traffic should be driving at is 20 mph what’s the point in putting up something telling people that driving at 30 mph is alright and they are legally entitled to?
EP – You will never, ever, see one at 20 mph, They don’t make them.
DF – So if we are to approach the local council about a 20 mph speed limit we have to provide facts as to why we need one, with no school, it seems to me you have no chance of getting one anyway.
EP – We will have to go forward with your ides and see what can be done. But I don’t think we will get one, but there again we’ll put it forward and see what happens from there. We’ll go down that channel and see what happens. – Right is there anything else?
GW – What percentage of traffic is known to be going through the village at speed in excess of 30 mph.
EP – I don’t know. I’ve got no idea
GW – So what is the point of having a speed indicating device if we don’t know how much traffic is going through the village at more than 30…….
EP – We’ve haven’t got speed cameras so we don’t know how fast it’s going.
GW – The local authority have had surveys and the last survey the did there was one vegicle went through at more than 30 mph.
JK – To be fair Mr. Chairman that was over 14 days. There has been a recent speed survey done. It’s been done within the last 6 months and it’s been done, and you can see it. It was done in support of the Planning Application for the Dragons Head and in neither the North or South bound directions were there any recorded speeds in excess of 29 mph. I’m telling lies, 29.4 mph. There is evidence, and not only that you will find the evidence in your own minutes. You have actually reported the tests that have been carried out. The only place where there are confirmed excesses are actually in Newton. And that has been true for the last seven years.
EP – Yes, but it’s totally different.
JK – Yes it is I totally agree, but that is where the Police have stopped people for speeding.
IA – Yes they do exceed 60 mph through Newton but nobody steps out onto the road straight from their front door.
JK – Yes that’s right but the fact is there is only Newton where the Police have recorded speeds in excess, sorry – speeds which the Police have considered to be in excess but not sufficient to prosecute.
IA – People driving at the national speed limit of 60 mph. 60 mph might be the right thing to do but people are perfectly legal doing it. But 30 mph through this village can be dangerous at certain times and certain points.
GW – 30 mph can be exceptionally dangerous.
IA – People step out of their front doors nearly straight onto the road, and at some points the footpaths disappear altogether.
EP – Anyway, I’ll look into that one.
GW – So we are at a point Mr. Chairman were there is some doubt about the validity of the suggestion that a speed indicating device should be purchased. And I move that no speed indicating device… no decision should be taken over the purchase of a speed indicating device until such time that the Parish Council is able to prove a). that there is a need.
EP – Yes, yes but I don’t take your point because the thing of it is – are you speaking for all the Parish of Whittington? have you seen them all and asked them?
GW – Have you?
EP – I’m not making the complaint, you are.
GW – You are suggesting spending a large sum of money on a piece of kit which probably is not going to make any difference at all.
IA – I think it does actually, where you’ve got this speed indicator people usually slow down to get a smiley face, don’t they, they do.
JK – That isn’t an, SpID though.
IA – I keeps people to the 30 mph though. People go through it in excess of 30 mph, they do.
GW – If you go through Endmoor, you will find that people doing 25 mph will increase their speed so they are doing 30. The indication of a smiley face at 30 mph people take as an indication that 30 mph is an acceptable speed.
EP – Yes, that right.
GW – But we are saying that it’s not acceptable.
GH – How much do these things cost a year and how much insurance would it need. Because, I could see it getting pinched. They did that at Kirkby didn’t they?
EP – If tit cost that much nobody would put them up would they?
GH – There will be an annual cost of maintenance and insurance, won’t there? That one at Kellett has been off for months and has only just come back on.
JK – Can I just interrupt there Mr. Chairman. There are two different types battery operated isn’t one of the. One is mains operated, the other is solar, not satellite as you suggested. The solar ones are dearer but they require less maintenance.
EP – Any way, can we move on? I think we’ve talked the legs off that one.
The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of the 15th May 2017 reported on this discussion as follows:
1328.Proposals from Parish Assembly held on Monday 8th May, attended by 5 members of the public and 3 Parish Cllrs. SpID signage – obtain evidence for need of expensive equipment, Cost of maintenance and Insurance: Reduce present speed from 30mph to 20mph through village; Cllrs agreed that a SpID sign, nor an unenforceable, nor advocated by Lancashire County Council, 20mph zone, may not resolve the problem of speeding vehicles through the village.
The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of 07th June make no mention of SpID’s.
It is my understanding, based on the PC’s own Minutes, that they have failed to undertake the investigations that were promised by Eric Pelter at the time of the Annual Assembly. Has he simply forgotten (hardly because it is minuted), or does he intend to ignore the wishes of his parishioners?