Green leader damns 'embarrassing' report into 20mph speed limits for Warwickshire towns
By David Lawrence - Local Democracy Reporter
13th Apr 2022 | Local News
The leader of the Greens on Warwickshire County Council has condemned the findings of a group looking at the introduction of a 20mph speed limit in residential areas calling their report an embarrassment.
The cross-party group of nine councillors looked into a blanket approach across an entire village or town, areas around schools; and focussed areas such as specific roads. An assessment was carried out in two locations, New Arley and Kenilworth – a small village and large town.
Their report to this week's cabinet meeting of the county council concluded that a blanket approach would have little if any benefit suggesting instead that councillors could use money from their own delegated highways budgets to pay for more tailored schemes.
But Cllr Jonathan Chilvers (Green, Leamington Brunswick), a member of the group, said there were failings in the report and urged cabinet to to look again at the evidence.
In a statement read out at the meeting he said: "This is a very poor quality report, probably the poorest task and finish group report I've seen.
"Despite mine and others best efforts it fails to look at examples of what did and didn't work from around the country. It fails to set out current DfT guidance and how that could be applied and it even fails to publish the work on Kenilworth and New Arley and misrepresents the findings in the report.
"It failed because some of the members on the group decided before the report started that they wanted to kill the idea off and weren't interested in why some communities wanted a 20mph limit and how that might work in Warwickshire.
"This failure to look at the evidence and find a way through is not the Warwickshire way and, as a result, cabinet faces approving a very poor report which would be an embarrassment to Warwickshire."
In contrast, Cllr Martin Watson (Con, Coleshill North and Water Orton) also sat on the task and finish group and refuted claims that the outcome was predetermined.
He said: "It was absolutely not quashed from day one. We decided after hearing a lot of evidence that a blanket approach was not appropriate. Not everybody wants it – I have residents who do not want a 20mph zone in their villages – so that's why it was decided to let the local members work with their transport teams where it is appropriate.
"We didn't ignore evidence and looked at lots of considerations but because of the size and diversity of Warwickshire, a one size fits all approach didn't work, wasn't appropriate and wasn't wanted by all residents."
Two members of the public representing the '20 is plenty' pressure group urged cabinet members to look again at the issue but councillors voted to support the task and finish group's recommendations.
Kenilworth Town Council voted in favour of asking WCC to introduce a wider 20mph speed zone into the town last week - subject to a public consultation.
Fourteen other town and parish councils have already done the same.
(Image by Albert Bridge via geograph.org.uk)