Residents call for Soulbury Road safety scheme

L14-264 Soulbury Road sign
L14-264 Soulbury Road sign

A fresh look is going to be taken into the safety of Soulbury Road after a group of angry residents spoke out at a town council meeting and demanded action.

Families living along the street urged Leighton-Linslade Town Council to include the road as part of its plans for traffic calming. Among the measures being introduced in nearby roads are 20mph limits.

A special meeting of the sustainable transport committee was called to discuss the issue on Thursday night which resulted in councillors agreeing to ask its partnership committee to fund a new feasibility study to look at traffic options for Soulbury Road.

Surveys carried out by safety experts found that up to half of all drivers using the Linslade road, which takes cars to the Stoke Hammond Bypass, were speeding. Despite this there have only been nine injury accidents between 2005-12 and only one was serious injury.

One resident who attended the meeting said: “They have promised to activate a feasibility study from next year’s budget but we cant see why they want to do it again as they have done it twice previously, firstly when the ring road was planned and then when planning for 900 houses was applied for at the end of Soulbury Road!

“The only real fact that we obtained was that traffic calming is prioritized under levels of danger and were told by one speaker that you need a fatality to take you to the top of needs list.”

Councillor Ray Berry, who struggled to maintain order at the often rowdy meeting told the public who attended that Central Beds was the highways authority and their campaign should be addressed to them.

A Central Beds highway engineer explained the need for priorities and the limited funding available. The funding, he said, was targeted at locations with an accident record and Soulbury Road’s accident record was low.

Councillor Mike Bishop asked if the mini-roundabout at Derwent Road could be re configured to better slow traffic down.

A town council spokesman said: “The town council, as part of its Big Plan project, has been committed to rolling out 20mph schemes on roads into and around the town.

“Soulbury Road was identified as a potential road to be included within this scheme. However members felt that for a 20mph speed restriction to be effective there needed to be other calming measures in place.

“Councillors listened to residents’ concerns regarding speeding and pedestrian safety”.