Battle to drop speed limit lacks backing in Wrexham

Reporter:

Rebecca Cole

CAMPAIGNERS fighting for a drop in their village speed limit are losing faith in the council’s commitment to change.

Rafela Fitzhugh, Overton resident and speed limit campaigner, feels her village is being overlooked while others unfairly benefit from traffic calming measures such as speed bumps.

And she fears another accident like the tragic death of Robbie Gaunt, nine, who was knocked down in a hit-and-run on Wrexham Road last year.

She said: “We’ve been told that Overton isn’t a high priority but this road is lethally dangerous.

“The elderly or very young and those with prams don’t dare cross the road and people who live on it are terrified for their children, pets and cars.”

But Cllr David Bithell, Wrexham’s lead member for environment and transport, claims he and the council are working hard to make the county’s roads safer for pedestrians and drivers.

He said: “I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for the concerns raised by residents and I’m a big supporter of reducing speed limits.

“I was active in reducing the speed limit to 20mph outside every school in the county and, on the instigation of the Welsh Assembly Government, our department is going to re-assess all speed limits in Wrexham by 2014.”

Cllr Bithell estimates the assessment will cost about £350,000 and will have to be funded from Wrexham’s existing budget, there will be no extra allowance from the Assembly Government pot.

The review phase, which will include a detailed look at the Overton section of Wrexham Road, will prioritise about 25-30 key sites in the county.

These areas will be tested under criteria including the length and function of the road, injury collision rate and the volume of traffic.

Cllr Bithell said: “After our officers have completed research the main target is to ensure any changes made are fair across the county.

“At this stage it is unclear how Overton fits specifically into this criteria and there are other areas with similar concerns.”

Rafela hopes a meeting between councillors and residents planned for tomorrow will make the council realise the whole community is desperate for change.

The village’s primary school, St Mary’s, even launched a poster campaign to encourage drivers to kill their speed.

Rafela added: “We just hope the council finally sees sense before there’s another accident.”

See full story in the Leader

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