Decision day on whether 20 is plenty in Banbury
Officers are recommending approval but only 23 percent of consultation responses were fully in favour
The Councillor in charge of transport management in Oxfordshire will today decide whether a blanket 20mph speed limit will be introduced for the majority of roads in Banbury.
A report to Councillor Andrew Gant is recommending he approve the plans, despite only 23 percent of those commenting in a public consultation being fully in favour of the proposal.
The consultation received 653 responses from individuals, groups and businesses. 427 of them objected to the proposals, 78 expressed concerns and 148 were in favour.
Banbury Town Council agrees that a 20mph limit should be introduced on residential roads and also some town centre streets, but were concerned about many cross-town and through-town routes. These included Horsefair and North Bar, Hightown Road and Swan Close Road, Bridge Street and Middleton Road as far as Daventry Road and Castle Street and Cherwell Drive.
The report to Councillor Gant says that 653 responses is only 1.5 percent of the local population and notes that “the aim of reducing speed limits is to change driver’s mindsets to make speeding socially unacceptable and make more environmentally friendly modes of travel such as walking and cycling more attractive.”
Banbury’s MP, Victoria Prentis, voiced her concerns on the proposals during the public consultation. Ahead of today’s meeting she has written to Councillor Gant questioning why public opinion appears to be being overlooked.
She said: “Over 650 people responded to the consultation before Christmas, two-thirds of whom outright object to the proposals.
“It has therefore come as somewhat of a surprise that a recommendation has been made to approve the plans without amendment. This is despite the latest guidance from the Department for Transport which makes clear that 20 mph limits should be introduced as targeted measures, rather than as a blanket approach, and where there is local consent. The County Council’s own guidance also emphasises the need for local agreement.
“It is quite clear from the consultation response that residents do not support a blanket approach. While some areas may well benefit from a lower speed limit, my constituents are concerned that the County Council’s proposals would incorporate some of Banbury’s major through routes. I note that Banbury Town Council share this view.
“The 20mph limit should not be rushed through simply for convenience. Consultation must be meaningful. I urge Councillor Gant to listen to the views of Banbury residents and reject these proposals in their current form.”
The Banbury Active Travel Supporters group has been campaigning for the new 20mph limits. They are hoping Councillor Gant won’t take notice of Mrs Prentis’ submission. In a consultation response a representative wrote: “Considering the wider political backdrop and the fact that the prime minister has chosen to make ’20’s Plenty’ a divisive issue in a very high profile way, I’m concerned at the type of correspondence our MP is likely to have received, prompted by sections of our media.
“I would urge those responsible for making this decision, therefore, to take any submission from Victoria Prentis with a very large pinch of salt. Considering the political and media backdrop, I do not believe her submission is likely to be representative of mainstream views in Banbury. I do not believe that this community is opposed to having safer, quieter streets where we can worry less when our children cycle and where noise and pollution are reduced.”
Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam