Wed, 04 Dec 2019
A CAMPAIGN to reduce the speed limit on Hungerford Common has achieved a significant milestone on the road to victory.
But there are still hurdles to clear.
At a meeting of Hungerford Town Council’s highways and transport committee on Monday night, district councillor James Cole (Con, Hungerford and Kintbury) said: “We all pulled together. The mayor was jumping for joy afterwards.”
Mayor Helen Simpson had joined Mr Cole and town councillors Rob Chicken and John Downe, plus the Constable of the Town & Manor Nicholas Lumley, to present a united front to West Berkshire Council’s speed review panel.
Between them, they persuaded the panel to reject a highways officer recommendation to retain the 40mph limit and to back a reduction to 30mph.
Mr Cole said: “It was touch and go whether they were going to agree it.”
Mrs Simpson said this week: “The Town & Manor presented a petition with more than 900 signatures.
“It’s a matter of grave concern for residents and we all agreed to work together on this.”
In March, Lauren Weir – the licensee of The Downgate at the top of Park Street – said speeding vehicles had been taking chunks out of the concrete posts by the cattle grid outside her pub.
She said some vehicles had been driving at speeds of up to 80mph across the common and there have been numerous incidents of cattle being struck and either injured or killed.
Mrs Simpson said: “Incidents like that have caused the Town & Manor a large financial loss.
“Residents are extremely concerned a pedestrian could be the next victim.”
The review panel’s decision must now go to West Berkshire Council’s executive committee for ratification.
It will then go for public consultation and finally to the Department for Transport for implementation.
Mrs Simpson said: “We feel strongly about this. I think between us we can get this through.”
Meanwhile, the town council will collect evidence to present to the executive committee using speed indicator devices (SIDs).
And the Town & Manor is considering installing extra signs warning motorists of grazing cattle.
Despite the general optimism, Mr Cole told the highways and transport committee meeting that they had not managed to persuade the review panel to extend the speed limit reduction to Lower Denford.
He said: “I wasn’t surprised, at this stage.
“I had warned people they probably wouldn’t get it this time around.”
Mr Cole added: “I see this as a slowly, slowly approach.
“I will go and see people in Lower Denford to see what’s really happening there.”