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Report on B4507 speed limit by Cllr Yvonne Constance, December 2017

on Thu, 18/01/2018 - 1:32pm

SPEED LIMIT ON B4507 : ASHBURY to WANTAGE

Members of the Parish Councils from villages along the B4507 met at end November 2017 to discuss concerns about the speed limit on this road in the light of the number of accidents and some fatalities.  As County Councillor for the Division of Shrivenham and District Councillor for some of the villages in the Ridgeway Ward, I chaired the meeting.  It was attended by 19 residents from Childrey, Kingston Lisle and Fawler, Sparsholt and Westcot and West Challow. Uffington residents were not able to attend, and East Challow PC has informed me they were not aware of the meeting, but have a similar interest in the speed and conditions on the road.

B4507 is a narrow two-lane road which winds along the foot of the downs with no speed limit, which means that it operates at national speed limit of 60mph.  It is a busy link between the villages and is the most direct route from Swindon and Shrivenham to Wantage, to connect with the A417 to Didcot and Harwell. Increasing numbers of houses are being developed along this route, especially at Swindon (where the new Local Plan has allocated 8,000 on the eastern apron) and Shrivenham (where up to 1,000 new houses will be built in the near future) and the B4507 is becoming an important commuter route. In 2014 a member of the WVVC counted 320 vehicles per hour passing his house in Knighton during the morning rush hour, and that number is increasing.

CONCERNS WERE EXPRESSED :

  • That speed is a problem, especially around the hair-pin bend at Britchcombe Farm camping and caravan site in the summer, when campers and their families walk in the road, and cross the road without any footpath or warning signs
  • Junctions are a problem with road signs concealed by trees and dirty, and there have been two fatalities in past year – a cyclist at Kingston Lisle and a motorist at Compton Beauchamp/ Knighton junctions
  • Verges are not maintained, notably on Sparsholt hill where gravel is slipping from the banks, which narrows the road and causes motorists to drive in the middle of the road. Potholes add to the problem and contributes to accidents esp. when driving at speed
  • The road is too narrow for lorries : a B&Q lorry has been witnessed driving in the middle of the road, hitting overhanging trees and leaving debris in the road
  • Accidents are not only distressing for all involved, but can require massive use of resource : one incident on B4507 required 3 fire engines, 2 ambulances, an air ambulance and police to attend
  • CYCLING events are held along B4507, which can hold up motorists and cause them to overtake
  • HORSE RIDERS also use the B4507

SOLUTIONS CONSIDERED :

  • The road is naturally bendy and narrow that traffic has to slow down.  A 50mph limit might encourage motorists to see that as a safe speed, which is too fast for most of the road. 40mph was considered a better speed limit, but it was acknowledged that the road may not have the required characteristics for a 40mph.  All recognised that no speed limit would be enforced.
  • A more effective scheme might be to install road markings and/or SLOW DOWN signs and PEDESTRIAN WARNING signs on the bends and hazards (esp. near Britchcombe Farm camping site);  or ACCIDENT BLACKSPOT sign
  • A speed survey was discussed, but not indicated as there is no limit below national 60mph.

NEXT STEPS :

  • YC will obtain the OCC/police record of accidents on B4507.    (There have been previous requests which have not been answered )  Officers would be asked to consider most effective solution.
  • OCC/POLICE record and any recommendations would be presented to all the Parish Councils for their consideration requesting contributions to the costs from all parishes.

COSTS were noted:

  •  YC reported that any new scheme would require consultation, typically costing about £3000 to £5000.  A new speed limit would require a new restriction sign at the start of the restriction and a cancellation at end of the restriction (costing about £4,000 for a VAS, but as much as £15,000 where electricity has to be supplied) and repeater signs every 10th mile (costing about £1,000 each).  The signs have to meet standard guidelines, are to detailed spec. and supplied and fitted by specialists.

 

Cllr Yvonne Constance                                                                                                              December 2017