Backing for 20mph zones

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COUNCILLORS have backed recommendations for 20mph zones in areas of Hartlepool where there is enough support from residents.

A Hartlepool Borough Council transport working group recommended the local authority – under the new system of governance – “embraces” a policy of introducing 20mph zones where there is support.

Their work was part of the scrutiny programme for the 2012-13 civic year and looked at a range of transport issues including 20mph zones.

Councillors sitting on the neighbourhood services committee approved the recommendations that:

l The council embrace a policy in relation to the introduction of 20mph zones in streets where there is clear resident support;

l To explore identifying a street, with appropriate neighbouring streets, to act as a pilot zone for the new 20mph policy;

l Carry out a campaign to promote the benefits of reduced speed boosting fuel economy for drivers.

The recommendations of the transport working group were backed by the council’s new neighbourhood services committee at a recent meeting.

Labour councillor Peter Jackson chairs the neighbourhood services committee, which was in favour of the recommendations.

He thanked officers and councillors for their work on the plans.

Coun Jackson said: “I would like to thank the working group and the officers for all their work who have worked well together and come up with some good recommendations that I’m happy to take forward in the future.”

The working group also recommended that creating an in-house bus service would be “cost prohibitive” at the moment under the current economic challenges facing the council.

Members also welcomed the efforts of officers and councillors in exploring the “viability” of creating a community travel club

A piece of work was also carried out around “transport to work” with consideration given to the provision of scooters for 16 to 25-year-olds.

But there was concern around potential liability issues, given accident statistics for young people in that age bracket.

Therefore, a report said council officers didn’t feel able to recommend the scheme to members.

Slashing speed limits from 30mph to 20mph is not new in town and there are several areas with reduced speed limits, including outside of schools.

It was recently agreed by the former cabinet committee to implement the new speed limits in the villages of Dalton Piercy and Elwick, Lightfoot Crescent, Mulgrave Road and Tunstall Avenue and Granville Avenue after former Mayor Stuart Drummond backed proposals.

Back in March 2011 the council’s cabinet committee agreed the town-wide “20’s plenty” approach would not be introduced, but agreed there would be schemes in areas if there was enough public support.

But members of the neighbourhood services committee has given its ongoing backing to the policy.