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Thurton villagers fight to save speed camera

PUBLISHED: 06:25 04 October 2010

Thurton residents campaigning to save their speed camera. Chris Popplewell (front), parish council chairman Chris Popplewell, with Janet Rackham and Len Swiffen.

Thurton residents campaigning to save their speed camera. Chris Popplewell (front), parish council chairman Chris Popplewell, with Janet Rackham and Len Swiffen.

Archant © 2010

A community is fighting to save its speed camera after councillors voted to withdraw funding for them across Norfolk in a bid to save money.

A community is fighting to save its speed camera after councillors voted to withdraw funding for them across Norfolk in a bid to save money.

Residents of Thurton, near Loddon, say the speed camera in the village on the A146 has made a “real difference” and are appealing for more options to be investigated before a final decision is made.

Speed cameras across Norfolk are set to be scrapped to save more than £1m after councillors voted to withdraw the entire budget for the Safety Camera Partnership (SCP), which operates cameras, runs speedwatch schemes and carries out community safety programmes.

The annual budget for the organisation is £1.6m, which will offer savings of £1.1m next year once the one-off £500,000 cost of closing it down is absorbed.

But it would also mean that all 23 fixed speed cameras in the county are turned off if the plan is given final approval next Monday

Thurton Parish Council and Thurton Primary School are taking urgent steps to try to save the speed camera on the A146.

Passions ran high as families, primary school head teacher Cassandra Williams and Thurton Parish Council chairman Chris Popplewell lobbied Norfolk County Council transport portfolio holder Adrian Gunson and police at a South Norfolk Action Panel (SNAP) meeting in Chedgrave.

The parish council is challenging the county council to look at the “bigger picture” and is asking for a final decision to be deferred until further options can be investigated.

The parish council will also ask the county council to seek urgent discussions with the government, to see whether legislation can be changed to allow for the local retention of speeding fines as a way of paying for speed cameras.

The parish council has also agreed to seek urgent discussions with the police authority to see what action they can take.

Ms Popplewell said the camera had made a real difference.

“The A146 bisects Thurton and safety for pedestrians and turning cars, has been a major issue for us for years,” she said.

“The single most effective measure which we have succeeded in getting is our speed camera. That has made a real difference.

“We will be working with the South Norfolk Action Panel to try to get Norfolk County Council to address the bigger picture.

“Their own report says that this cut of £2m per year will actually cost wider society, including the NHS, £6.9m per year in coping with more fatalities and serious injuries, and that’s before we even start to count the human cost.”

A public meeting is being held at Thurton Primary School on Thursday at 7.30pm to discuss the situation and decide on any further steps.

What do you think? Write to Evening News letters at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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