Clash over proposed Cold Ash speed bump
Parish Council to make decision tonight (Tuesday)
COLD ASH residents clashed with parish councillors at a consultation event last week discussing a speed hump in the village.
The proposal was for a 50mm-high speed bump to be installed outside St Mark’s School, Cold Ash Hill.
The raised area is designed to be an informal crossing point, where vehicles would have to slow down. Government legislation also means that street lighting would be provided.
The proposal was met with criticism, however, from residents.
Jenny Peacock told the Newbury Weekly News, “I don’t think we should have it. It’s a waste of council’s money when they are trying to save money.
“It’s part of the village plan that we don’t have street lights. None of the residents have asked for this.”
She went on to say that when her children went to the school she had requested a lollipop lady, but was told that as there had been no deaths this was not necessary.
She added; “Now we are getting a speed platform.”
Another resident asked: “During school times you can’t speed down there as there are 20 to 30 cars parked on the roadside. What does it actually solve?”
Others asked where the proposal had come from.
Parish council chairman Richard Marsh replied that West Berkshire Council had proposed the scheme in response to requests to tackle speeding outside the school.
Saying that the hump had value outside of school hours, Mr Marsh said it would “provide a focal crossing point”.
Residents hit back, asking why other measures, such as a lollipop lady or a zebra crossing, had not been considered.
Mr Marsh said that funding was not available for a lollipop lady and that the level of traffic did not justify a crossing for the road.
Council officers said that although a zebra crossing would be more expensive the cost was not the reason for it not going ahead.
He also admitted that double yellow lines and the speed ramp itself would lead to ‘parking displacement’.
“That’s something we would take into consideration. We don’t know if this is going to go ahead so we have not factored in parking arrangements.”
Parish councillor Mike Munro said the hump was part of a wider plan to cut speeding in the village.
He said: “The other alternative to this is we do nothing.
“To us it’s not a stitch-up. Nothing has been decided. We are trying to decide what people think.”
Speaking in support, a school governor said: “I think the speed platform would be a good idea in terms of additional safety at the school and a designated crossing point for some of our elder residents who take longer to cross.”
Residents then called for a show of hands on the speed platform.
But Mr Marsh said that the event was a consultation and no vote would be held.
He also said that consultations usually attracted people who were vehemently against something and that the views of all residents would not be accounted for on the night.
“I thought we lived in a democracy, not a totalitarian state,” one resident replied.
Parish councillor Linda Verner then granted residents’ wishes, with a show of hands revealing that nearly the entire hall was against the hump.
Another show of hands calling for a zebra crossing was overwhelmingly in support.
Speaking after the meeting Mr Marsh said it was fair to say that most people were hostile to the scheme.
He asked for the silent majority of those in favour to contact the parish clerk before a decision was made on January 26.
“I would also add that it's a shame that not all those present this evening were able to be courteous and respectful of those who held opposing views,” Mr Marsh said.