Observer: Here’s why 20 is plenty

Our independent Saturday columnist, Observer, welcomes the town council’s efforts to get a 20mph speed limit on many Uckfield roads.


High speeds on residential roads will bring tragedy to Uckfield which will lead people to cry out: Why wasn’t something done?

I have used this column on more than one occasion to highlight the dangers in Browns Lane, Nevill Road, the Rocks Park estate, Church Coombe and other places.

At some times the speeds are wickedly high.

That’s why I welcome Uckfield Town Council’s bid to get a blanket 20mph limit on our estates and residential roads.

‘Pro-car’ county council

The time difference in obeying such a speed limit is negligible. A vehicle travelling at 20 is far less likely to kill a child or adult in a collision than one travelling at 40.

Past form suggests that East Sussex County Council will put up objections to the town’s request; many in Uckfield apparently regard the authority as very much pro-car . . . Cllr Ian Smith indicated that when speaking at a town council committee meeting.

However, the county should tread warily if it wishes to turn down the request, for a number of reasons.

Lewes and Maresfield

Accidents will happen and, when they do, questions will inevitably be asked.

We also look to what has happened at places near Uckfield.

Lewes has a large 20mph area.

Maresfield has a blanket 20mph limit for much of the village – so it can be done. That community probably built its case for a lower limit traffic calming on the back of needing to deter through traffic and pushing vehicles out on to the by-pass.

Manor Park Estate

I would suggest more people live on the Manor Park estate than in Maresfield, and the dangers are as great, if not greater in an urban environment.

Maresfield, I surmise built a strong case, as, no doubt Lewes did.

Our town council must do similar work. We have an emotional case, but hard facts and figures will be needed.

Need for enforcement

Of course, we all talk about enforcement when it comes to speed limits and I am no exception.

Limits need enforcing, unless we have really aggressive traffic calming.

As things stand, Sussex Police, faced with a reduction in officers, does not have speeding drivers as a No 1 priority.

Police priorities may change

However, there may come a time when police numbers will once again rise, or other ways are found to ensure speed limits are not flouted. More and more, technology is used to curb errant motorists, whether it be in car parks or driving on major roads and motorways.

Technological  solution

You can well imagine that as technology further develops, ways will be found to check vehicle speeds remotely without the need for a police officer to stand on the side of the road with a radar “gun”.

Speeding is a danger to all other road users, so a lack of enforcement at the moment is no excuse not to act to make our streets safer for all.

See also:

Tips for shopping in Uckfield during June

Public viewing of Hughes Way play area upgrade plans

Events to look out for in Uckfield this weekend

Find local businesses in our Uckfield Directory

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