Bid to tackle Uckfield speeding drivers menace

Renewed attempts will be made to curb Uckfield drivers who break speed limits on the town’s roads.

Eastbourne Road at Ridgewood the Fernley Park roundabout in the distance

Town councillors are planning to reinvigorate “speed watch” campaigns.

Volunteers are being sought to operate roadside equipment as part of the campaign.

Members of Uckfield Town Council’s environment and leisure committee discussed speeding at a meeting on Monday (November 16).

They were told there is a hierarchy of community efforts to try and reduce speeding.

Community speedwatch

A static speed indicator device (SID) is the starting point.

One step up is community speedwatch, where residents operate a speed ‘gun’ with the support of the police.

Speedwatch will refer vehicles exceeding the limit to the police who collate information.

Cllr Karen Bedwell opened discussions at the committee meeting by referring to complaints from a resident about the stretch of highway from Goldcrest Drive to the Fernley Park roundabout.

Uckfield town councillor Karen Bedwell

Cllr Karen Bedwell

She said the person says “there is an accident waiting to happen”.

Cllr Bedwell called for action saying: “Let’s not wait until somebody dies, please.”

Town mayor, Cllr Spike Mayhew, said he would be contacting people who had previously organised a town-wide, council-led SID group in the past and would help to re-start it.

Cllr Mayhew asked other councillors to join in and said volunteers from townspeople would be most welcome.

Town clerk, Holly Goring, added: “There was a community speedwatch group set up in Ridgewood.

“We need to find out if that can be reinstated.”

Defeats the object

The town clerk said enforcement action from community speedwatch had heightened and on the third warning letter the police would visit the driver

During the discussion, Cllr James Edwards said his experience was that many drivers had complete disregard for speed limits.

“What you need is someone to catch them doing it,” he commented.

He said a problem was that people went on social media to warn others when a speed ‘gun’ was being used – the object was to catch drivers unawares.

Cllr Gary Johnson said signs which flash and tell you what speed you are doing when you come into a town were a great thing.

Head and shoulders photograph of Councillor Gary Johnson

Cllr Gary Johnson

“We have to start with SID and Speedwatch and get the momentum and keep those things going,” Cllr Johnson told the meeting.

“I don’t mind standing there in a yellow jacket and taking abuse,” he said.

Some councillors wondered if speed limits could be reduced.

The town clerk warned this was not a quick process and evidence was needed to support applications.

Traffic survey data did not always show what was expected.

Average speeds were not as high as people believed they would be.

Concern over data interpretation

Cllr James Edwards said there was a problem with statistics based on averages which showed a low-level problem.

“All it takes is a couple of people going in excess of 20mph over the speed limit. That’s the real issue. 

“It is about the minority who speed excessively. Using that (the average) as a test is unfair on residents,” he said.

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