Following the announcement that the Whitton 20mph scheme will finally be taken seriously, Labour Councillor and North West Area Committee Chair, Stephen Connelly was delighted that his question at Full Council has prompted such swift action. Called to a meeting with County Highway Officers within a week Cllr Connelly has been able to secure a firm commitment with detailed time scales for an assessment of this much needed scheme.
In their policy document Suffolk County Council acknowledges the Department for Transport’s guidance that Highway Authorities should be focusing on urban areas for 20 mph limits. Cllr Connelly said “Given the government guidance, I am surprised that Whitton Councillors have had to push so hard for this request. We have been lobbying for years, and until now have had no acknowledgement of our request for this to be considered”.
At Thursday’s meeting, officers agreed to carry out speed surveys, seek police views, and collect accident data, to present the findings to a meeting of the County Council’s Speed limit Policy Development Panel in November. Cllr Connelly added; “Whilst this is progress, I am disappointed that Whitton, an obvious area for a 20mph zone, with a long history of pedestrian accidents, has to go through such a tortuous process when other less urban areas in Suffolk do not. I do question if there is a level playing field at the County Council.”
Labour County Councillor Kathy Bole, is supporting this request, and has agreed to help fund this from her Councillor Locality budget, used for community projects.
County Labour Spokesperson for transport, Sandra Gage said “Labour councillors have worked hard to get this scheme in Whitton, and other requests for 20mph limits in Ipswich considered. County Council highway resources and political mind-set are a problem for Ipswich, there are neither the staff nor allocated highway funds to take a systematic approach to making Ipswich a 20 mph town. This is out of step with what is happening elsewhere in our major towns across the UK.”