Are safety measures by Linslade school ‘overkill’ or badly needed?

Derwent Road near Greenleas Lower School... Photo:Google
Derwent Road near Greenleas Lower School... Photo:Google

Traffic calming measures along the road near a Linslade school are being labelled “overkill and unnecessary” by a local resident.

Five raised tables are to be added in the area around Greenleas Lower School.

It follows a call for safety improvements by Leighton-Linslade Town Council and Central Bedfordshire councillors, a traffic management meeting report explained.

CBC highways officers plan to address their concerns close to the school in Derwent Road, and along the entire route from Wing Road to Soulbury Road.

“Speed humps were suggested ten or 15 years ago for this area and that idea was rejected because the accident rate wasn’t bad enough to warrant it,” according to Derwent Road resident Tom Daly.

“I believe the same applies now,” he told the meeting. But he said he supports a 20mph limit in the area and waiting restrictions at nearby junctions.

He said: “I strongly oppose any raised tables or speed humps, as I think these are overkill and unnecessary, when there have been only one or traffic two incidents in this area during the 15 years I’ve lived here.

“Any gross speeding along here is rare. Parents don’t speed past the school.

“The accident rate is low and doesn’t require ramps,” he added.

“The money spent on this scheme could be used on somewhere else more deserving. I am also worried if you stop parents parking near the school they would park at every other available spot.”

Leighton-Linslade town councillor and mayor Clive Palmer said: “Derwent Road has long been a concern for many residents. I have been approached by parents seriously concerned for the safety of their children because of speeding vehicles, even when the road is heavily parked at school time.

“Inappropriate parking at nearby road junctions has been a further clear safety concern. The safety improvements and lower speed limits proposed should greatly help what is an acknowledged problem.

“I can understand the question raised by some respondents about the need for the restrictions to be imposed in a blanket way over the whole area.

“But I am not sure how they could be sensibly and practically be broken down and imposed in a fragmented way.

“Everyone I have spoken to, who supports these further measures, also agrees on the paramount need for enforcement thereafter, if they are to be effective.”

Data provided by CBC highways officers reveals there have been a number of injury collisions along Derwent Road, Bunkers Lane, Himley Green and Bideford Green during the past five years.

The current speed limit across the area is 30mph, and there will now be a 20mph zone in all residential streets off these four sections of road.

Senior highways officer Charlotte Dunham described it as “a large scale project across the north-western side of Linslade”, with waiting restrictions, raised tables, and revisions to the speed limit.

She said: “It’s been a longstanding wish of Leighton-Linslade Town Council to improve the area outside the school and all the residential areas around western Linslade.

“There will be five raised tables along the main drive through, so those will be self-enforcing.”

Yellow lines will be painted at the junctions to the residential areas directly joining Derwent Road, Bunkers Lane, Himley Green and Bideford Green.

In a letter to CBC’s traffic management team, the school says it “fully supports” the measures being proposed.

But it is concerned how any new measures will be enforced and fears local residents will be unhappy if parking gets displaced into surrounding roads.

Conservative Arlesey councillor Ian Dalgarno: “It’s really good to get a nice scheme coming along getting the support from the majority of the community.

“But I am aware of some of the concerns raised. The difficulty with 20mph speeding zones is they need to be self-enforcing.

“We have to engineer the roads in the area, so it becomes a self-policing scheme, so in terms of what is proposed I am quite comfortable with that.

“I would ask our officers not to engineer the speed humps with a suicide lip on the front to wreck cars, but also we want to encourage children to cycle to school.

“We are also desperate to get parents to walk their children to school,” added councillor Dalgarno, who chairs the traffic management meeting.

“If putting parking measures in around schools incentivises them to get out of their cars and to walk their children to school I think that’s a good thing, so I support that as well.”

The scheme’s formal approval will be delayed slightly, the meeting heard.

This is because the position of one of the raised tables was advertised as outside 144 Derwent Road, but was actually meant to be outside 114.

A letter was sent out recently to the owner of 114, who has 21 days to make an objection.

And the 20mph zone will include Kendal Gardens, which was left off the original list and has to be advertised in January.

Councillor Dalgarno said: “I will move as laid out in the report, subject not to getting an objection from 114.”

Work is expected to start during the school summer holidays when there is reduced traffic in the area.