Shaftesbury’s Mayor Wants Site Suggestions For New Speed Awareness Sign

Shaftesbury Town Council is buying an electronic display board in an effort to reduce speeding on the town’s roads.

“Assuming we get agreement from the Highways Authority and the Police, we will be installing one of the flashing speed signs which informs motorists of their current speed and if they are breaking the speed limit,” said Shaftesbury Mayor, Piers Brown. “It’s a gentle reminder that they are speeding. If they are, we hope they will rectify that,” Piers added.

You might be familiar with the speed indicator device, which has been used in the parish next-door. “There is currently one outside Melbury. This is going to be something incredibly similar,” said Piers.

The Mayor put this solution forward, following a positive response to a poll on his Facebook page. “A number of residents, especially around Grosvenor Road, contacted me about speeding there. I decided to ask people on social media whether they would support the Town Council spending £2,500 on one of these devices, even though we are not the Highways Authority,” said Piers.

Dorset County Council generally looks after roads but Piers says the Town Council can get involved with speed reduction measures like this. “We do have an allowance within local government rules to spend money on crime prevention. The County Council supports towns and parishes spending money on this because it benefits them, as much as it does us. As a general rule of thumb, lower speeds mean safer roads,” said Piers.

Shaftesbury Town Council has been advised that the display board becomes less effective if it remains in the same location for over six weeks, so it will be moved around the town. The Town Council will discuss appropriate locations with Dorset County Council’s Highways Department and Dorset Police.

“We have a list of people who have suggested locations already. If anybody else wants to get in contact with Shaftesbury Town Council, we will put those ideas in front of the Highways Department and the Police to make sure that they fulfil the legal requirements. We’ll try to get it out there soon,” Piers said.

The installation can’t be used to prosecute speeding motorists. “No personal data is going to be captured in any way because of this device. Nobody is going to be receiving a speeding ticket. It will be advisory,” Piers promised.

But the equipment could provide useful data on both the volume of traffic and its speed. “Some of the models allow for data collection. This could be used in the future to support any evidence-based approach that the Highways Authority might need in rectifying traffic blackspots,” Piers explained.

Before making their decision, town councillors were advised that there is a risk that this display board may not be effective in traffic calming. “The aim is to try and reduce people speeding,” Piers offered. “We can all probably think of half a dozen around the town that come to mind. It’s just a little thing that Shaftesbury Town Council can do to support that.”

You can contact the Town Hall at enquiries@shaftesbury-tc.gov.uk.