Thurton Speed Camera Campaign
The Next Steps
Thurton Parish Council and primary school are taking urgent steps to try to save the speed camera on the A146.
We have made good progress, but we aren't there yet. Some speed cameras in Norfolk are likely to be saved. Join the lobby to make sure that Thurton's speed camera is one of them.
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When you email here are some points you might wish to stress:
Thurton Primary School headteacher Cassandra Williams asked "If the county council could consider retaining some of the cameras, especially those near schools. We have had a very near miss last week when a driver carelessly overtook while children were crossing and that is with the speed camera! What will happen if the cameras are taken away and speed increases?"
Parish Council Chairperson, Chris Popplewell explained "The A146 bisects Thurton and safety for pedestrians and turning cars has been a major issue for us for years. The single most effective measure which we have succeeded in getting is our speed camera. That has made a real difference. We will be working with the South Norfolk Action Panel to try to get Norfolk County Council to address the bigger picture. Their own report says that this cut of £2m per year will actually cost wider society, including the NHS , £6.9m per year in coping with more fatalities and serious injuries and that's before we even start to count the human cost".
Read the article in the Evening News (Monday, 4th October 2010)
Here are the minutes of the public meeting held at Thurton School on 7th October:
John Overton (Chairman of the (SNAP) South Norfolk Action Panel), County Councillor Tony Tomkinson, County Councillor Adrian Gunson, Sgt. Steve George, PCSO Kevin Nightingale, Ms. Chris Popplewell (Chairman of Thurton Parish Council), Cassandra Williams (Head Teacher at Thurton Primary School), Janet Rackham, Jan Whitehouse, Paul Byrne, John Capps, District Councillors Colin Gould and Lisa Neal plus approximately forty five members of the public. Notes of the meeting taken by Armana Handley (Neighbourhood Officer at South Norfolk Council).
John Overton and Chris Popplewell gave an overview of the current situation, especially since Norfolk County Council made their views known regarding future funding of the Norfolk speed cameras, almost two weeks ago. At the 29th September 2010 SNAP meeting in Chedgrave discussions took place regarding the Thurton speed camera, which has been threatened with removal from the A146 due to funding cuts. It was decided that a public meeting would take place on the 7th October at Thurton Primary School. Thurton Parish Council met on the 30th September 2010 and endorsed the public meeting. Press coverage has been achieved in the Eastern Evening News, Eastern Daily Press and the Beccles and Bungay newspaper. An interview has also been given to Radio Norfolk. The Chairman on Norfolk Police Authority, Stephen Bett, has told the Eastern Daily Press that if they went ahead with their plan we would be looking at fewer cameras but in better locations. We would be looking at accident black-spots and areas with high volumes of pedestrians, such as schools'.
3. Key issues arising
At the Norfolk County Council Cabinet meeting on Monday 11th October 2010, Thurton Parish Council will be asking Norfolk County Council to defer their decision and seek urgent discussions with the government, to see whether legislation can be changed to allow for the local retention of speeding fines as a way of paying for speed cameras. County Councillor Tony Tomkinson is a member of Norfolk Police Authority and stressed the need for road safety awareness. He stated that the Police Authority has no control over operational policing and it is anticipated that the police budget for 2011 will be cut by 25% over three years. Currently the fines received from the speed cameras in Norfolk do not pay for the running of the speed cameras. Councillor Tomkinson felt that there is an opportunity to save money and retain or even increase the number of speed cameras via multi-agency working. One of the multi-agency partners would be the National Health Service (NHS). It is estimated that one incident of serious injury costs the NHS approximately £300,000. Therefore, speed cameras could save the NHS money. Councillor Tomkinson suggested that Norfolk Police Authority speaks to the NHS representatives. Some Thurton residents felt that the current pathway along the A146 is not wide and safe enough to use. Also, the pedestrian island in the middle of the A146 is not large enough to be safe from traffic when used by people with pushchairs and children with their school bags.
Residents views on how to make it safe to cross the A146 in Thurton were: -
1. Retain the live speed camera in Thurton.
2. Reduce the speed of traffic down to 30mph in the Thurton 'dip' and extend the 40mph zone.
3. Flashing speed limit sign (as at Brooke).
4. Investigate a 'Lollipop Lady' to help crossings.
5. Obtain reflective slap' bands for the children.
6. Install a Zebra Crossing, as at Framingham Earl.
7. Install a footbridge across the A146.
It was agreed by the meeting that before the speed camera was installed, the traffic speed and the road traffic accidents were much higher than since the camera has been active.
County Councillor Adrian Gunson confirmed that to reduce the traffic speed down to 30mph the Police and Norfolk County Council must be involved. The notice to reduce the speed limit needs to be advertised and investigated by highways officers.
It was agreed that the co-ordination of the multi-agency work will commence on Monday 11th October 2010 when Thurton Parish Council will ask Norfolk County Council to co-ordinate the improvements to road safety at Thurton. The South Norfolk Alliance (Local Strategic Partnership for South Norfolk) has a wide variety of partners, including the NHS and will also be able to help.
Armana Handley was tasked with involving Mr. Richard Bacon (MP for South Norfolk) and lobbying the Secretary of State for Transport.
"To whom it may concern
The residents of Thurton & Ashby St Mary are very concerned about the prospective loss of the speed camera on the A146 Thurton Dip. The speed camera has been an instrumental factor in cutting the number of speeding incidents and traffic incidents on this stretch of the road that effectively cuts our village in two!! Serious accidents have been cut since its introduction several years ago even though the amount of vehicles travelling along this stretch of road has increased especially in the morning and evening during the rush to get to and home from work hours. We understand that all government and police departments are being asked to reduce overall costs - but not at the expense of public safety please. Our members are especially concerned about the safety of the school parents and children who have to cross the busy A146 in the dip at Thurton to get to school at the start of the day when traffic along the stretch is very heavy in both directions - we would urge not only the retention of the speed camera as a deterrent for drivers to keep well within the speed limit, but also the provision of a trained Patrol Crossing Person to see our residents safely to school and back. TARA (Thurton and Ashby Residents Association) believes that every child (and parent) should have the right to a safe route to school! We would urge Norfolk County Council and the Police Authority to retain the speed camera in Thurton and help the local community to achieve a safe route to school over the A146."
Yours faithfully, Karen Bonsell, On behalf of Thurton & Ashby Residents Association
Thurton Parish Council's Question to the Norfolk County Council Transport Cabinet Meeting on 11/10/2010
The Question proposed
Will Norfolk County Council defer any decision to cut funding for speed cameras, to enable further consultation on the wider cost implications of the 'bigger picture' and alternatives for funding? Thurton Parish Council calls on Norfolk County Council to seek urgent discussions with the Secretary of State to investigate the potential to address local priorities by changing legislation to create an enforcement solution which is self funded including by the local retention of speeding fines.
Summary of views
1 False economy
The County Councils own report to the Environment, Transport and Development Overview and Scrutiny Panel 22/9/10 states that the loss of the Road Safety Specific Grant leaves a shortfall of £2m pa, but that the societal saving of casualty reduction at fixed camera sites equates to £6.9m pa.
2 Contrary to current views
In the Councils consultation on Norfolk's third Local Transport Plan "Connecting Norfolk" 14/9/10, Councillor Gunson states that Norfolk County Council feel there is 1 omission from the list of priorities for transport: "Improving road safety which remains a significant challenge, with around 400 people continuing to be involved in fatal or serious collisions on Norfolk's roads each year and drawing attention to the impact on the NHS. The Council has previously shown strong support for the Norfolk Safety Camera Partnership.
3 Thurton's position
The village is bisected by the A146. The School and Village Hall, which accommodates the Pre School Play Group, are on one side of the road. The pub, church and a significant number of dwellings are on the opposite side. The introduction of the speed camera has been the single most effective traffic calming / safety measure introduced in the village in the past 20 years. Safety, particularly of pedestrians crossing the A146 and vehicles turning, is of paramount concern.