Plenty - limit - 20 mph sign 20's Plenty - pic by Albert Bridge creative commons licence

Attempts to impose 20mph limits on new housing developments in Cheshire East often fail because the wording of the council’s speed management strategy means efforts can be blocked, a councillor said.

Cllr Suzie Akers Smith is now meeting with the head of highways to ask if the document can be re-worded so officers can’t stop attempts by councillors at the planning stage to have 20mph limits designated for new residential developments.

She was clearly frustrated at a meeting of the strategic planning board when she asked if the lower speed limit could be put in place on two separate applications and was told by officers they did not consider it “appropriate” for those schemes.

In both cases they argued the design of the residential developments was such that people would tend to drive slower and there was no need for a 20mph limit to be imposed with signage.

Cllr Akers Smith, who has championed a 20mph limit for housing estates, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “There’s two words in part of that policy which says speed limits can be recommended for 20mph on new housing developments ‘if appropriate’.

“Since that [strategic planning] meeting I’ve written to the director of highways and transport and asked him for some clarification. I’ve explained it isn’t working.

“Those two words, ‘if appropriate’ need to be removed because they’re not allowing councillors to do what they want to do, which is to bring forward housing developments that are limited to 20mph.”

Cllr Akers Smith said 20mph was far better suited to housing estates with families and children.

The matter was also raised by Cllr Mike Hunter, the chair of strategic planning board, during the October 26 meeting which Cllr Akers Smith had referred to.

He too said there was confusion around the speed management strategy.

“I think this is a classic, where councillors believe we’ve passed something at highways, we think it’s enforceable, then we find out it’s only ‘where appropriate’ and if officers deem it to be appropriate,” Cllr Hunter (Middlewich, Lab) told the meeting.

“So I think what we need to do is work out how we’re going to get that statement that was made at highways, and adopted at highways, as a policy, because at the moment it isn’t a policy, which is the confusion. We’re treating it as if it is, but the officers are telling me that it isn’t.”

He added: “But I agree. I think all residential developments should be mandatory 20mph.”

Planning boss David Malcolm told the committee at the time: “We’re not ignoring the strategy, we’re just looking to try to find what is appropriate.

“As a strategy it was only adopted three or four weeks ago. We are still in discussions with highways about how best to apply this.

“My concern is that, if we apply it through this [strategic planning] board on a blanket basis, somebody will take an issue with it and it then might undermine the strategy that some members have spent a lot of time getting through the process to adopt.”

Cllr Akers Smith is due to meet with highways boss Tom Moody next week to discuss the matter.

One Comment

  1. Would be hard to drive faster given parking of cars all over the road, worse offenders are parking on a bend

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