Holywell speed limit campaigner slams 'ridiculous' claim


Jamie Nield-Siddall

A CLAIM that a campaign to see a speed reduction was a “conspiracy” to save a developer money has been roundly rubbished.

Long-serving Holywell county councillor Gareth Roberts has accused the firm Watkin Jones of lobbying residents to campaign to get the speed reduced from 40mph to 30mph on the A5026, which runs through Holywell.

Cllr Roberts said the company would have saved money if the speed limit on the stretch was cut, as it meant it would not have had to remove a bank from the roadside there to meet road safety rules.

But campaigners, who fought a passionate but unsuccessful campaign to get the speed limit reduced, said Cllr Roberts’ claims about their motive for the effort was an insult.

Watkin Jones has also denied the accusation of pressuring residents to push for the speed reduction, insisting it is “totally unfounded”.

Cllr Roberts said he did not believe it was “a coincidence” the 30mph campaign got under way after Watkin Jones representatives spoke to him about plans to reduce the speed.

He said he thinks the campaign, which saw more than 300 residents sign a petition to see a speed reduction, was a “ploy” to save the company money.

He said if the road remained a 40mph area, there would have had to be 90 metres of clear visibility to meet national highway standards.     

That would have meant Watkin Jones having to push the bank on the side of the road back if it was reduced to 30mph.

But mother-of-three Anke Kadelka-Williams, who has led the campaign, said she has “never heard anything so ridiculous” as Cllr Roberts’ argument.

Mark Watkin Jones, group managing director of Watkin Jones Group, said: “To suggest the residents recent campaign to have the speed limit reduced is a conspiracy to save Watkin Jones money is totally unfounded.

“We have not approached any residents in the area over the matter and have acted in full consultation with the highways department at all times.”

Mr Jones said when the company was looking at options to implement the highway changes necessary to build the new entrance to the new housing estate, one was to cut the speed limit on the approach to the entrance.

He added: “This option was not considered to be satisfactory by highways so we chose an alternative option which was to make alterations to a vision splay and this work has now been completed allowing the development to proceed.”

Flintshire Council has said the speed limit will not be reduced at this time as this stretch of road was not identified for a reduction by Holywell Town Council during a review of the county’s roads.

Neal Cockerton, Flintshire Council chief officer organisational change and Anthony Stanford, a senior highways engineer, met up with residents at the road last month to discuss their concerns – but said the meeting was not to consider the speed limit.

Mr Cockerton said: “Holywell Town Council did not identify this stretch of the A5026 as a part of the highway network running through the town that they wished the county council to consider amending the speed limit for, and as such the county council is proceeding with implementing the outcome of its review on that basis.”

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