No re-think on Garstang limits

20 mph speed limit sign
20 mph speed limit sign
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CONTROVERSIAL new 20mph speed limit schemes are to undergo a re-think – but not in Garstang.

Highways chiefs announced this week they would be reviewing the 20 limits in Preesall and Knott End following concerns raised by residents, town councillors and after lobbying from local County Councillor Vivien Taylor.

But in Garstang – where the imposition of 20mph zones has prompted similar protests and angry scenes when residents confronted county council leader Geoff Driver at a town council meeting – there are no plans to look again at the limits.

The £9.2million Lancashire 20mph project, rolled out in Garstang and Preesall earlier this year, was designed to be restricted to residential estates and roads where pedestrian and cyclist movements are high, such as around schools, shops, markets and playgrounds.

And while communities have welcomed the 20 zones on some roads there have been many objections to the restrictions being introduced on main routes through the towns.

Lancashire County Council say in Preesall they will now come back with an amended plan, and are prepared to re-introduce 30mph in certain areas.

County Coun Tim Ashton, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Having been to the town council and listened to the views of local people, I agreed to review the 20mph scheme in Knott End and Preesall.

“Driving more slowly and safely in residential areas has real potential to save lives and make our neighbourhoods better places to live.

“While we got a lot of this scheme right, there were some areas that, in hindsight, it may have been better to keep as 30mph.

“For that reason, we will come back with an amended plan which will be a basis for further public consultation.”

Community leaders and residents in Garstang have made similar complaints about 20mph zones on main routes including Lancaster Road and Croston Road.

The arguments were put to county council leader, Coun Geoff Driver and Coun Tim Ashton at a heated meeting of Garstang Town Council in February.

But this week an LCC spokesperson said while talks with the town council were ongoing there was no review planned for Garstang.

He said: “The lines are still open with the town council but there will be no similar announcement and there are no changes being put forward at present.”

Town councillors had already expressed their disappointment at what they described as a lack of consultation from LCC over the original plans.

They were also surprised to learn at last week’s town council meeting that the 20 limits are not enforceable in law.

Councillors were told by Garstang PC Dave Shaw there was currently no legislation to penalise drivers exceeding the 20mph limits.

Mayor Coun Lady Dulcie Atkins asked Garstang County Coun Val Wilson if she had been aware the limits were not enforceable.

County Coun Wilson said: “The reasons behind implementing the 20mph was to educate and persuade people to drive slower in residential areas.

“I am informed if there are persistent offenders, then police will take action.

“What I will add is that there are now 22 council authorities that have now taken this up and there has been quite a serious reduction in accidents because of it.”

The proposed revised scheme for Preesall will be discussed with the town council and town mayor (also county and borough councillor) Vivien Taylor before more public consultation starts.

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