A Shaftesbury councillor has called for traffic calming and reduced speed limits on the eastern development, but he’s unconvinced that plans to block Mampitts Lane to through traffic with a ‘bus gate’ will be beneficial.
Cllr Peter Yeo told fellow Shaftesbury Town councillors that people are driving too fast in the residential streets to the east of Christy’s Lane. He says that he wants the estate speed limits reduced from the 30mph maximum speed.
“I do think (there should be) a 20mph speed limit in the eastern part of town. I can never see a need to travel at more than 20mph on a residential street,” said Peter. “Anyone who’s been on a speed awareness course knows that if you hit a person or a child at 20mph, they are very likely to survive. It’s only 50% at 30mph and if you hit someone at 40mph they are almost certainly going to die. A 20mph (limit) should be enforced. However, there’s no point doing that if you haven’t got traffic calming measures.”
Measures to prevent through traffic became a planning condition when the new estate was granted permission. Dorset Highways had proposed a ‘bus gate’ based on their example site at Ravenswood Avenue in Ipswich. Under Dorset Council’s plans, all traffic except buses, bicycles and emergency vehicles would be banned from the narrowed portion of Mampitts Lane, opposite the Cemetery. Road signs would inform drivers that it would be an offence to drive through this bus gate.
This proposed signage has been retained in Dorset Council’s revised plans. It would restrict traffic movements along the narrow stretch of Mampitts Lane between Pound Lane and Legg Road. But other aspects of the bus gate plans appear to have been dropped. A more physical deterrent – an area of raised stonework in the centre of the road – had been proposed. Now Dorset Council has written to Shaftesbury Town Council to say that the East Anglian project hasn’t been successful, because the traffic control measures had not been enforced.
Dorset Council staff also raised concerns over who should remove any vehicles that became stuck when drivers chose to ignore the signage. They have advised Shaftesbury Town Council that, “The Police do not wish to manage the on ongoing situation.”
The revised proposal will remove all physical road restrictions, ramps and depressions but the roadside timber bollards will stay. Dorset Council now suggests adding two ‘speed cushions’- raised rubber speed humps – on the roadway. These visual deterrents don’t slow down emergency vehicles. It is expected that the amended plans will now go to consultation.
Dorset Highways say that the short-term plan is for estate residents to use either Allen Road or Greenacre Way to access the A30 through the sets of traffic lights on Salisbury Road. Their plan to connect Allen Road with Wincombe Lane to provide an additional route into town remains.
The Maltings Residents Association has argued that the bus gate should wait until that new access road is open. They have also stated that residents have not been informed formally of bus gate traffic restrictions and some of their members feel that the bus gate will segregate them from the rest of town.
Councillor Yeo, who lives on The Maltings, is not convinced by the merits of the bus gate. “There are a few people that take a shortcut through the eastern part of town, because they know that you can go from the Warminster Road to Salisbury Road. Most of the people I see speeding through the new estates are local residents. I don’t think the bus gate is going to help at all, because people are going have to travel probably six times the distance to get around towards the Tesco roundabout, if they can’t take the more direct route through where the bus gate is going to be. Even if they put the bus gate there, people will still be speeding,” said Peter.
He wants Dorset Council to add traffic calming across the eastern development, “in the form of speed bumps.” Peter said, “I spoke to the gentleman from the unitary council some months ago. They said they don’t want speed bumps because they cause more emissions. When the bus gate blocks off the direct route, people will be travelling longer to get to Tesco, which will make more emissions. Speed bumps slow people down and preserve life. You can’t speed if the speed bumps are there at regular intervals.”
Cllr Matthew Welch, who chaired Shaftesbury Town Council’s recent Planning and Highways meeting, told Alfred that he has an open mind about traffic calming on the eastern development but he believes that Dorset Council would need to support it.
“Maybe some traffic calming schemes would be good, but it would require lots of preparation and organisation from Dorset Highways and they have to investigate wherever it’s needed. It’s not something the Town Council can just say, ‘yes we’re going to implement this’. We need the county to work with us if we want to implement it.”
Cllr Yeo says he is determined to take his idea further. He wants a meeting between Town councillors and the Dorset Council Highways team. “This is the big thing I’m going to be pushing for,” said Peter. “I’ve already spoken to the Mayor about it because he’s on the Dorset Council Planning Committee. We want to get a meeting with those people responsible for traffic calming measures. That really needs to happen in the eastern part of town, especially where there are roads that are very long and straight and there’s nothing to slow down the traffic.”
Shaftesbury Town councillors had expected to discuss the bus gate developments on 25th June, but they had not received an update from Dorset Council in time. Their next Planning and Highways meeting with be on 13th August and the bus gate is likely to be discussed in that session.