Electronic Traffic Speed Indicator Sites Chosen But ‘Speeding Rat Run’ Ineligible

Shaftesbury locations for mobile electronic indicator boards, which flash up the speed of passing vehicles, have been approved by Dorset County Council Highways.

Shaftesbury Town Council had identified ten areas that they believed would benefit from the £4,000 kit, which the town councillors agreed to buy last year.

Back in July residents were asked for areas where they believed motorists drove too fast. St John’s Hill, Coppice Street, Tout Hill were suggested. Locals also argued that Sweetmans Road and Pound Lane were being used as a ‘rat run’ by motorists. The display boards were considered a speeding deterrent.

Tuesday’s Town Meeting

At night’s annual Town Meeting, Mayor Piers Brown said that there’s been ‘a lot of red tape’ and the Town Council had been ‘jumping through hoops’ when dealing with the County. “A big part of that criteria is proving to the Highways Authority that there is a need. 85% of traffic must be exceeding the speed limit by 10% and an additional two miles an hour. So, in a 30mph zone, that would be 35 mph. It is a high bar,” said Piers.

Just a handful of sites on the Council list have been approved for the portable electronic displays. “Only three locations of the approximate ten that we surveyed fulfilled the Highways’ criteria. There were some places that were unfortunately unsuccessful, despite the passion and strength of feeling from local residents and this Council. Sweetmans Road and Pound Lane were not eligible ” Piers said.

The three approved sites for the boards are New Road – that’s the B3081 from Shaftesbury to Gillingham – the A350 at Littledown and Longcross on the Sherborne Causeway.

Piers took comments and questions from members of the public. Bell Street resident Christopher Price wanted to raise the issue of people driving inappropriately fast along his street. He enquired about getting the speed limit reduced but Piers explained that the consultation for that work would cost around £5,000 and county budgets are tight. But the Mayor said that he would raise it.

Another resident asked for zebra crossings to be reinstated in town. She felt there needed to be markings near the Town Hall and at Angel Square. Piers said that the road between those points is meant to be a shared space, where pedestrians and drivers coexist, but the resident felt that concept had not worked work. Piers said that he’d address the matter with Dorset Highways.