Wed, 02 Oct 2019
A PETITION has been launched to try to finally persuade highway authorities to impose a 20mph limit on Hungerford Common.
It has been prepared and circulated by the Town & Manor charity in response to a series of recent incidents and is titled: “Reduce the speed limit on Hungerford Common before a human is killed.”
The petition states: “The roads that pass through Hungerford Common are currently limited to 40mph.
“We would like to see this reduced to 20mph to protect road users and cattle.
“During the year cattle are kept on the common in an unfenced traditional manner and will wander into the roads.
“Despite warning signs, cattle grids and local publicity, many drivers speed over the common and we have had four cattle incidents this year, with two fatalities.”
It adds: “We wish to see the speed limit reduced to encourage drivers to take care and also reduce the likelihood of cattle being killed (cattle have much higher chance of surviving an impact of 20mph or less).
“We are also concerned about the potential risk to drivers of colliding with cattle at high speed.”
The Constable of the Town & Manor of Hungerford, Nicholas Lumley, said: “I’d ask that as many people sign up to our petition as possible.
“It saddens my heart each time I see one of our cows hurt and I truly believe lowering the speed limit could help prevent more accidents in the future.
“Other measures are also being considered, such as improved signage, however we believe the most effective step would be to reduce the speed limit over the common.”
In March, the Newbury Weekly News revealed eyewitness accounts of motorists reportedly driving across the common at speeds of up to 80mph.
The licensee of The Downgate, at the top of Park Street, said the vehicles had been taking chunks out of the concrete posts by the cattle grid outside her pub.
Lauren Weir said in March: “They go flat out over there and are using it as a rat-run.
“I shouted at someone who went past at at least 80mph to slow down and they got angry with me.
“I couldn’t believe the nerve.”
Both commoners and farmers, who buy rights to graze their cattle from the Town and Manor, produce a summer grazing herd of about 175 cattle.
The Hungerford neighbourhood police team has previously said in a statement: “We have had several incidents on the common involving injuries and the death of cows caused by undue care and attention of drivers.”
They condemned the “totally unacceptable behaviour” of drivers and pleaded with motorists to observe the speed limit.
They also reminded them: “If you do have an accident with a cow, you must report it to the police.
“Failure to do this is an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988.”
The Town & Manor petition had received around 250 signatures as this newspaper went to press.
If you wish to sign it, go to http://chng.it/qXFmw7pfXh