No plans for speed restriction in Hartlepool street – council dismisses appeals

Fred Smurthwaite pictured in Arncliffe Gardens.
Fred Smurthwaite pictured in Arncliffe Gardens.

A COUNCIL says there are no plans to erect speed humps in a town centre street – despite concerns from a campaigning resident.

Fred Smurthwaite believes speed humps should be erected in Arncliffe Gardens, Hartlepool, to prevent drivers travelling through the street at speeds of up to 50mph with what he says is no regard for the safety of pedestrians.

The 58-year-old dad-of-three has appeared in the Mail on two previous occasions about the issue.

The last time was in October when he challenged Hartlepool Borough Council over a speed survey he said it had promised to carry out 12 months earlier.

Today, however, council chiefs said a traffic survey has indeed been carried out which ruled that the average speed of vehicles in the street was 23mph.

They said this was a dramatic decrease in speed from the last time a survey was carried out in 2008 – before the road was transformed from a 30mph to a 20mph zone – when the average speed was 33mph.

The results of the survey mean that speed humps will not be erected.

A council spokesman said: “Upon hearing of Mr Smurthwaite’s concerns via the Mail in autumn last year, we did indeed carry out a traffic speed survey in Arncliffe Gardens last November.

“This showed an average traffic speed of 23mph, which is a substantial reduction on a previous survey in 2008 – before we introduced a 20mph speed limit – which showed average speeds of 33mph.”

He added: “In the light of this we have no plans to introduce speed humps in Arncliffe Gardens.”

Today Fred told the Mail that he has not been informed of any such survey being carried out on the speed of vehicles in the street.

He claims the council must be “waiting for a serious accident to occur before taking any action”.

The pipefitter and welder, who has lived in the street for more than 30 years, said: “In October the council said that they would be doing a traffic survey to assess the situation.

“It looks to me as if they are waiting for a serious incident to occur before taking any action.”

He added: “I hope they can live with their non-action if there is a fatality on this street.”

The dad-of-three and grandad-of-four fears someone will be killed on the road unless speed bumps are istalled at regular intervals down the road.

He initially made the council aware of the speeding issue back in the summer of 2012, and when nothing was done about it he contacted the Mail in June and again in October last year.

Fred says that sometimes drivers travel at such a speed that if he is sitting in his car, sometimes with his young grandaughter, his vehicle actually rocks.