Saffron Walden councillors debate 20mph speed limit throughout the town

The introduction of a 20mph speed limit throughout Saffron Walden will be discussed at the town coun

The introduction of a 20mph speed limit throughout Saffron Walden will be discussed at the town council meeting on Thursday. - Credit: Archant

Councillors will tonight (Thursday) consider the introduction of a 20mph speed limit throughout the town.

The proposal for the blanket limit across Saffron Walden, made by a member of the public, is to be debated at the final town council meeting before the elections.

“We only need one car to observe the limit and everybody follows suit,” town councillor and Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Mike Hibbs told the Reporter.

“There’s a lot going for the idea, particularly in the medieval streets of Saffron Walden which aren’t designed for cars.”

Mayor Sandra Eden was in favour of a partial, rather than total 20mph limit.

“I don’t think it’s enforceable – the wrong people will get picked up for doing 21mph,” she said. “I would be in favour of having it around schools – you have to be careful of kids running out in front of cars.”

There is already a 20mph limit in place on Church Street, but campaigners for the same measure on Castle Street have so far been disappointed.

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This was highlighted in the Reporter last September, after a council gaffe saw 20mph signs mistakenly put up on Castle Street. Residents were dismayed when it emerged the signs were actually intended for Church Street, despite long campaigning for the enforcement.

In response to the latest call for the limit, an Essex County Council spokesman said: “Any proposals to alter speed limits in Saffron Walden would need to be presented to the Uttlesford Local Highways Panel for consideration.”

It is not just in Saffron Walden that campaigners have called for motorists to cut their speed.

In Newport, district councillor Jeremy Rose has teamed up with Newport, Quendon, Rickling and Widdington candidate John Moran to call on Essex Highways to introduce an advisory 20mph limit along the main route through Newport.

“A vehicle travelling at 20mph should be able to stop in time to avoid a child stepping into the road three car-lengths in front,” said Mr Rose.

“But at 25mph it will hit the child with a force equivalent to them falling from a first floor window. At 30mph the force is equivalent to them falling three storeys.

“A mandatory 20mph speed limit is already in force in Newport in Bury Water Lane, Frambury Lane by the primary school, Bridge End and Elephant Green. I’ve spoken to many Newport residents, and it’s clear from their comments that they want something done along the High Street too. People do take notice of advisory speed limits — and 20 is plenty.”