Mayor backs 20mph zones

Mayor Stuart Drummond

Mayor Stuart Drummond

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SPEED limits across several areas of Hartlepool are to be cut to 20mph after plans were agreed.

Hartlepool Borough Council is 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 Mayor Stuart Drummond backed proposals.

The new speed limits, which will cost a total of £3,000 in signage, followed consultation periods with residents in all of the affected areas.

In the villages of Dalton Piercy and Elwick concerns had been raised about vehicles using the villages when coming to and from the busy A19.

Officers stressed that the routes through the villages are narrow with bends and inclines at various points.

A consultation found 89 per cent of Dalton Piercy residents were in favour with 84 per cent in Elwick in favour of the speed being cut from 30mph to 20mph through the villages.

Meanwhile, in the Granville Avenue and Tunstall Avenue area of Hartlepool, a consultation offered a range of options including 20mph zones, road humps and vehicle activated signs.

But of the 114 responses from the 200 letters sent out, a majority of 47 - or 41 per cent - were in favour of the 20mph speed limit.

The new limit will come into force in Granville Avenue, Tunstall Avenue, North Drive, South Drive and Elm Grove.

In Lightfoot Crescent, despite only eight residents responding, 87 per cent of those were in favour of a 20mph limit.

A council report said the road is a narrow one way street, with parking on the opposite side to houses and speeding can cause “particular problems”.

Meanwhile, in Mulgrave Road, a consultation was carried out in January for a proposed 20mph limit after requests from ward councillors and the local residents’ group. Results showed that from 42 letters sent out, only seven were returned but six of those - 86 per cent - were in favour of cutting the speed limit.

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.

As a result these schemes came before Mayor Drummond at a meeting of his regeneration and neighbourhoods portfolio.

Mayor Drummond said he was happy to agree the recommendations, but asked officers whether in the consultation letters the local authority explains that the schemes are difficult to police.

Mike Blair, the council’s highways, traffic and transport manager, said Cleveland Police doesn’t currently enforce 20mph zones but said the schemes were recommended to be approved to boost “road safety and encourage slower speeds”.

Mayor Drummond said: “Speeding through the villages has always been a problem, but I don’t want to raise expectations for the limit not to be enforced.”

Labour councillor Kevin Cranney said he believes 20mph zones really help to curb speeding motorists.

He added: “This is about saving lives in the long term.”