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Bungle halts speed watch

Posted on September 01 2015 at 11:35:20

Village traffic campaigners have voiced their frustration after a planned speed enforcement programme had to be abandoned, blaming failures at the county council.

After years of pressure, speeding on the A441 at Hopwood, where traffic races in and out of Birmingham from junction 2 of the M42, was to be monitored over six months.

This was after several surveys by the West Mercia Safer Roads Partnership between 2012 and 2015 confirmed progressive increases in traffic volumes and speeds. 

One of these showed that more than half of vehicles were travelling at least 15 per cent above the designated 40mph speed limit.

The Community Concern Speed Enforcement Programme was to have started during July, but the Safer Roads Partnership called it off at the last minute after discovering problems with the regulations covering Hopwood Hill.

According to Alvechurch Parish Council chairman Andy Humphries, the Traffic Regulation Order for the A441 at Hopwood is “seriously flawed”.

This meant the Safer Roads Partnership had halted the initiative and it would take around six months for a new Traffic Regulation Order to be put in place.

In a briefing note to fellow parish councillors, Coun Humphries said: “The A441 has suffered from a chronic lack of strategic investment in recent years. 

“Funding was earmarked for its improvement in the 2009 Longbridge Area Action Plan subject to public consultation, but the latter has never taken place and it appears the funding has been redirected towards other projects.” 

Coun Humphries added: “Worcestershire Highways officers are overstretched and too under-resourced to enable anything other than small-scale improvements.

The proposed comprehensive safety audit (which presumably would have found the TRO flaws) was replaced by a desk-top audit, with no findings ever being published to the local community. 

“This situation is exacerbated by a demonstrable lack of commitment from the local county councillor,” he added.

“The Safer Roads Partnership and local police officers have always been strongly supportive of parish concerns. 

“However, the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner’s stated aims to make communities safer, and specifically to improve highway safety, need to be deliverable on the ground and, if operational resources do not allow regular speed enforcement on problem roads, permanent speed cameras should be deployed where local communities want them to improve safety.”

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