If it wasn’t so serious, it would be funny. A press release from the Police and Crime Commissioner tells of how the Community Ambassador for Shropshire was astonished at the level of speeding in Ludlow. Graham Oliver was here to witness the first day of Ludlow police’s Christmas speed and drink-driving enforcement campaign. Seven vehicles on Sheet Road were pulled over in just a few minutes for speeding.
I live near Sheet Road and I can tell you, Mr Oliver, that speeding not just frequent there, its normal. The default mode of driving on some roads here is to speed.
Speeding is not confined to Sheet Road. Other hotspots are Parys Road, Bromfield Road and Fishmore Road. Sheet village, which lies just outside the town, might as well have its speed limit removed altogether as so few vehicles passing through obey the law.
The problem is that we don’t have speeding enforcement and we haven’t had it for ages. People here too often speed with impunity.
When my father first visited Ludlow four or five years ago, he crossed Sheet Road to cut through to Tollgate Road. Arriving at my flat he said, “Don’t they enforce speed here?” I answered, “No”. That is the answer I would give today, despite the few minutes spent on enforcement while Mr Oliver was visiting.
One in four people who have responded to our ongoing community survey say that speeding is a problem in Ludlow (79%).
It is true that speeding motorists rarely kill or seriously injure people in our town. But all of us unitary councillors are regularly contacted by elderly or vulnerable residents who complain they don’t feel safe out and about or when crossing the road. It is wrong that people don’t feel safe in a town like Ludlow.
The police told the last meeting of the Local Joint Committee that the limited resources available to tackle speeding are concentrated on spots where people have been killed or seriously injured by speeding motorists. Places like Church Stretton, where an enforcement van is regularly seen parked on the A49. But it doesn’t include towns like Ludlow.
Of course, the police must prioritise their shrinking resources. But we must also find ways of slowing traffic down so that people, especially vulnerable people, feel safe when they are walking. And we should have a campaign of enforcement in Ludlow to make it clear to drivers that speeding is not safe for them, let alone other road users.
Full PCC press release
Graham Oliver, Community Ambassador for Shropshire had only one word when he was invited to witness the first day of Ludlow police’s Christmas speed and drink-driving enforcement campaign. “That word is astonishing,” said Graham.
The local Safer Neighbourhood Team had chosen a key arterial road – Sheet Road, which links to the major A49 – to launch their campaign.
“The invitation to join the enforcement team followed a briefing meeting I had with Inspector Rob Thomas. What followed was what I consider to be astonishing,” said Graham.
“Within the first few minutes of the speed check seven vehicles were ‘pulled over’. Two were given stern warnings as they were just within the tolerance level,” said Graham, “but out of the other five that were well above the 30mph limit, three had already attended a speed awareness course which is offered to some speeding drivers as an alternative to being fined.
“Needless to say, they were all reported for prosecution. There was also a warning for a seat belt offence and a lot of sound advice issued by officers. All those stopped agreed they had been speeding even though the majority of vehicles stopped were fitted with cruise control technology,” Graham added.
“No doubt further speeders would have been stopped,” said Graham, “but the checks were brought to a halt when a call was received of a horse box having broken down at a dangerous point on another major road.”