COWBIT ROAD SAFETY PUBLIC MEETING: Speeding in village is a ‘terrible disease’

SPEEDING ISSUES: Cowbit county councillor Nigel Pepper, Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways at Lincolnshire County Council, Inspector Gareth Boxall, PCSO Naomi Newell, Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones and Ian Swallow, of Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership, at Cowbit Village Hall. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG050318-115TW.
  • Fresh speed survey pledge from Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership

A vow to make Cowbit “the leader of the pack” in tackling speeding drivers has been made at a public meeting in the village.

Up to 100 people were inside Cowbit Village Hall on Monday night to have their say on what Cowbit district councillor Rodney Grocock described as the “terrible disease” of speeding in the village.

By putting the average speed cameras up on the A16 in Crowland to slow traffic down, it’s pushed the speeding cars into Cowbit

Cowbit farmer William Tyrrell

The meeting, organised by Cowbit county councillor Nigel Pepper, started with a claim that £250,000 had been put aside for traffic calming measures in the village when plans for the A16 between Spalding and Crowland were announced in 2008.

Coun Trevor Tyrrell, chairman of Cowbit Parish Council, said: “When the A16 was at its planning stage, we were told as that Lincolnshire County Council would look into traffic calming measures if there was a speeding problem here.

“A sum of money, £250,000, was put into pot for that and over the past two to three years, we’ve been trying to get something done.

“But that money hasn’t been forthcoming and we’ve been told that it’s all been swallowed up in other projects.”

Guests at the meeting, including Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones, South Holland neighbourhood policing inspector Gareth Boxall and Coun Richard Davies, the county council’s executive member for highways, heard how speeding was a continual problem along Barrier Bank, between Cowbit and Peak Hill.

Cowbit farmer William Tyrrell, son of Coun Tyrrell, said: “There seems to be a direct correlation between when the mobile speed camera vans leave Cowbit and drive towards Crowland and traffic speeds on Barrier Bank.

“By putting the average speed cameras up on the A16 in Crowland to slow traffic down, it’s pushed the speeding cars into Cowbit.

“Now instead of it being driver versus driver, as Cowbit was before, it’s now flesh versus driver because the danger of speeding cars is now in the village, making the potential for harm a lot higher.”

Coun Davies said: “There is no extra money left over for speed calming measures in Cowbit as the A16 project consumed all of the allocated funding and there isn’t a sum of £250,000 ring-fenced anywhere to do speed enforcement in the village.

“The last time we looked at Barrier Bank, there was speeding but not at a sufficient level for us to intervene.

“We have to address the most serious locations where people are dying first and it would be hard for me to stand in front of a community where people are getting killed and say to them ‘We have to spend the money elsewhere’”.

In response, Coun Tyrrell committed the parish to joining Lincolnshire’s Community Speed Watch scheme and said: “It’s no good being at the back of the pack.

“We want to be the leader of the pack because we’ve got a problem with speeding.”

• Communities worried about high speeds where they live can ask for traffic surveys to be done at any time, according to a Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership spokesman.

Ian Swallow, the partnership’s man in charge of speed camera locations, told Cowbit villagers that whilst Department for Transport criteria determined where traffic calming measures were targeted, so-called Archer traffic surveys were possible along Barrier Bank and Peak Hill.

But Mr Swallow added: “Cowbit is a relatively safe place to live and whilst it has a speeding issue, so have other places in the county.”

• A Cowbit villager has claimed that the number of vehicles using it to bypass the A17 has shot up over the last six years.

Carl Nightingale told parish, district and county councillors at the meeting that his own figures showed that traffic movements along Mill Drove North had gone up from 1,200 vehicles a day in 2012 to more than 4,000 a day now.

He said: “Mill Drove North has been the subject of traffic surveys ever since the road was first opened, so why are we suffering from an increasing number of HGVs here?

“Of the vehicles that go along the A16 from Peterborough to Spalding, 24 per cent of them go down Mill Drove North.”

Coun Davies said: “At the moment, we are currently gathering traffic flow data for the area which we will use as part of an investigation into how best to move forward.

“However, we have made no commitment to block off Mill Drove North but we are looking at potential improvements to the road, with the aim there to improve safety, not lower traffic volumes.”

• Campaigners in Crowland who want a roundabout constructed at the notorious A16/B1101 Radar Junction received surprising, but mixed news, during the meeting.

Coun Richard Davies revealed that a study had been carried out at the site, with the “favoured option” being to put a roundabout there.

But he added: “Radar Junction is the 46th most dangerous junction in the county and the cost of a new roundabout is £4million - which isn’t available.

“Average speed cameras were installed along this section of A16, including Radar Corner, in December 2016 and we are currently looking at whether they have had a positive impact on safety.

“We also recently undertook a study looking at how the A16/B1101 junction in Crowland could be made safer, with the idea of installing a roundabout at the top of the list.

“However, at the moment, there’s currently no funding available for such a large project.”

• A scheme that encourages youngsters to play an active role in their communities was praised during the public meeting at Cowbit Village Hall.

Lincolnshire Mini Police, trialled in Boston last summer, is set to be rolled out across the county funded by a £100,000 grant from the Home Office.

PCC Marc Jones said: “It’s an exceptional project that gets children involved in taking social responsibility and we’ll be rolling it out to 1,000 kids at 100 schools across Lincolnshire.”

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