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Experimental 20mph speed limit made permanent, despite police concerns

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:00 04 June 2020

An experimental 20mph limit in part of Norwich has been made permanent. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY.

An experimental 20mph limit in part of Norwich has been made permanent. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY.

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2009

n experiment which covered more than two dozen Norwich streets with a 20mph speed limit, without traffic calming, is being made permanent - despite police reservations.

James Wright, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton. Pic: Dan Grimmer.James Wright, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

The limits were introduced in the Eaton area last summer.

Council bosses originally proposed a permanent 20mph zone with traffic calming measures.

But people in the area were not convinced roads such as Greenways and Church Lane needed traffic calming.

One resident said it was “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut”, so officers took the unusual step of an experimental 20mph limit, without any traffic calming.

And Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, has used delegated powers to make the order permanent.

Church Lane in Eaton. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYChurch Lane in Eaton. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

However, that came despite the concerns of Norfolk Constabulary.

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Police speed checks for 30 minutes on both Church Lane and Greenways found 74pc of vehicles were exceeding 24mph in Church Lane and 53pc in Greenways.

The police said such a high percentage of speeding drivers was “considered unacceptable” and the force could not support the continuation of the 20mph limit without traffic calming.

But the council said its own automatic traffic count monitoring at five locations in Church Lane, Linford Drive and Greenways showed average speeds had been cut, although they remained above the limit.

There have been no personal injury accidents in the area since the order was introduced.

The council said: “It is acknowledged that the police would prefer physical traffic calming on both Church Lane and Greenways. However, with the introduction of 20mph roundel road markings drivers will be made more aware of the restriction.

“A raised table pedestrian crossing on Church Lane would also help to slow traffic.”

James Wright, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton, said: “The decision to make the experimental 20mph zone permanent is a vindication of the strong community response to the original excessive plans from the council.

“Data shows speed has been reduced, but there is more to do. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a uptake in walking and cycling, but also sadly more cars speeding. I know residents are keen to see more signage promoting 20mph, and to build on the positive environmental changes over the last few months.”


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