Proposals for 20mph zone and worry on traffic flow
SHERBORNE town councillors discussed, at their latest meeting, reports on highway issues that had been considered earlier this year by representatives of town, district and county councils.
20 MPH ZONEAt a previous highways meeting members were asked to consider implementation of a 20mph speed limit within the town centre, around the older parts of the town. Andrew Brown (DCC Highways) said policy had been relaxed nationally on 20mph speed limits. They are no longer confined to residential areas, or where there are physical speed restraints, but can be implemented more widely subject to meeting criteria. If a 20mph is approved and implemented, existing signage can be reduced as the only essential signs are on entry and exit from the zone. Members generally agreed in principle to the 20mph zone, but a formal request would have to be made to Dorset County Council traffic management team. This request would then need to be considered in line with criteria, followed by detailed discussion and consultation. Following the meeting, Andrew Brown discussed the matter with Steve Howard (team manager, traffic management), who made it clear that a formal request would be required from the town council. The proposal to consider the introduction of a 20mph zone for the town centre was not supported by the town council. Town clerk Valerie Todd has since told the county council: "It was agreed that the current speed limit should be left as it is for now as a 20mph seed limit would be difficult to enforce; it could be revisited at some future date should this be considered appropriate."
HGV SIGNAGE At the earlier meeting, Andrew Brown gave an assurance that Richard Stubbs is organising the improvements to the HGV signage within the town and it should happen later this year. HGV routes will be clearly signed and routed to the industrial estates along New Road and other appropriate roads, rather than through the town. A problem with lorries using Acreman Street was reported, as it has a weight restriction. Residents are asked to report any offending lorry to the police.
ACREMAN STREETThe traffic management section of the county council have been monitoring the traffic using Acreman Street and found that a surprising large volume of traffic is still using the road – an average 4,000 vehicles combined flow per day, the majority going north. This usage is partly attributable to satellite navigation systems guiding drivers along that route and also to the priority at the junction of Ottery Lane/Westbury, which sends vehicles through Westbury. The county council is confident it can switch the priority at this junction by changing the road markings and adjusting the kerbs. This should be relatively inexpensive, when compared with traffic-calming measures, and should go a long way towards reducing the traffic in Acreman Street. Andrew Brown will be sending a brief to the DCC design consultants to look into the feasibility, with costs, of this proposal. The scheme can then be assessed appropriately to receive potential funding. Members were in agreement that the priority should be changed at this junction. The town clerk has told the county authority: "The suggestion to investigate changing the priority at the junction of Ottery Lane and Westbury was considered to be high priority and should be pursued."
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SPEED INDICATOR Councillor Robert Gould suggested at the earlier meeting that provision should be made for the town council's Speed Indicator Device to be used in Acreman Street. The average speed of vehicles at present is 28mph, which is less than it was prior to traffic calming, but not down as much as they would like. The town council was recommended to contact Rob Camp to set up a suitable site for the SID in Acreman Street.
CROSSING POINT IN HORSECASTLES LANETown councillor Malcolm Boustead expressed concern about the lack of a crossing point at the top end of Horsecastles Lane. The residential area to the west of Horsecastles Lane comprises both ends of the age spectrum and many cross the road by the traffic islands opposite Ridgeway. It was suggested that a proper pedestrian crossing should be installed at this point, perhaps making use of the new Section 106 arrangements to obtain funding from developments within the area. With the potential development of the Sherborne Girls' School site and a residential home further down, and the expected increase in traffic using Horsecastles Lane once the priority at the junction has been changed, the need for this crossing point is urgent. Andrew Brown will liaise with Mathew Williams, of DCC. The town clerk has now told the county authority: "The need for a pedestrian crossing in Horsecastles Lane was considered important with the proposed developments at Sherborne Girls' School and Sherborne Hotel. The town council ask you to investigate the best location for a crossing."
JUNCTION OF HORSECASTLES LANE WITH THE A30The layout at this junction is being reviewed and filtering lanes and priorities are scheduled for change. Money should be available from Section 106 arrangements with the proposed developments at Sherborne Hotel, Barton Farm and Sherborne Girls' School. Improvements at this junction had previously been ruled out because of the expense of moving underground telecommunication wires, but improvements in wiring technology means that this can be done at 10 per cent of the original cost.
JUNCTION OF A30 AND MARSTON ROAD It was suggested that this new wiring technology might be applied at the Marston Road junction where A30 traffic is held up by vehicles in the filtering lane waiting to enter Marston Road. It would allow the road to be widened at that point. Andrew Brown understood this junction had already been improved sufficiently. He will contact Mathew Williams to review the situation. The town clerk has advised the county council: "The traffic lights at the junction of the A30 and Marston Road still cause problems with traffic queuing back into the town, held up by vehicles waiting to turn right into Marston Road. Quite some time ago it was promised by DCC it would investigate the possibility of removing the sharp left hand corner of the pavement/kerb into Cornhill as this would facilitate vehicles passing on the inside. This has not been done and you are asked to revisit this proposal."
POTHOLESThere was general concern about potholes in many parts of the town. Members were advised to report them direct to DCC via the parish maintenance scheme. Any pothole over 40mm will be fixed within 30 hours of reporting.
HEDGESCouncillor Marjorie Snowden expressed concern about hedges being allowed to grow over and obscure road signs. Again, members were asked to report this to the DCC or the town council office. The county authority will write to any private landowner asking them to cut back their hedge and, if they do not , cut it back themselves and invoice the landowner.
TRENDLE STREETMoney is available and the improvements to Trendle Street will start in September.
OTHER ITEMSHarbour Road being used as a "rat run" to Sherborne Primary School and North Road by Somerfield lorries. Both items were referred to the next highways meeting.