Community Speed Watch [CSW] and other road safety matters
[ April 2014] The CSW team were out and about for the first time in February. This is a volunteer team of 10 residents in our Parish who have all been fully trained, vetted and approved by the Police.
In partnership with Wiltshire Police, the Police & Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire & Swindon, and Wiltshire Council, we are "Driving Down Speed, Driving Up Safety" for all users of our roads.
Headline statistics : Although impacted by the recent bad weather, the CSW team spent a total of 9 hours spread over a week at various times of day on the Lower Westwood Road. During this period, they counted 2,019 vehicles [that's nearly 4 every minute !], of which 224 vehicles [11% of total vehicles counted] were reported for driving at 25mph or more. Of these, 56 were over 30mph, and one was caught driving at 47mph ! 171 warning letters [76% of total speeding vehicles] have sent out by the Police, who have also visited 25 people at their homes, including the person driving at 47mph ! 3 drivers were caught speeding twice and they have received more strongly worded letters.
You will be very pleased to know that only 39 vehicles [17% of the total number of vehicles caught speeding] were residents of Westwood Parish. This indicates that the vast majority of speeding drivers [83%] are passing through the village.
The CSW team will be active again later this month. However, it is very unfortunate that one of the CSW team was verbally abused last month by local residents and felt it necessary to resign. This is unacceptable conduct towards a member of your own community who is helping to improve your safety on our roads. We do hope this does not occur again as, like any other antisocial behaviour, it may be reported. The Police are advised every day the CSW team is active if support is required and, on some occasions, the Police will themselves be present.
The Wiltshire Council undertook metro counts at several sites along the Upper Westwood Road during January. The results showed that average speeds for the majority of drivers were no greater than 24mph. The Parish Council therefore resolved that the existing 20mph speed limit and traffic calming signage is sufficient and no further action be taken unless there are material changes to driver behaviours in future.
Small yellow camera signs are on order and will be installed on existing poles along the Lower Westwood Road in due course. In the meantime, their absence does not negate the validity of CSW activities and approval from the Police.
Later in the Spring, the delimiter sign on the exit from Upper Westwood towards Freshford will be moved to the other side of Downside Nurseries and additional 20mph roundels placed on the road. Additional roundels will also be installed along the stretch of road approaching Lower Westwood towards the blind bend at The New Inn. At the same time, the On-Carriage Footpath will be extended on the South side from the junction to Westwood Manor to just past the first dwelling on entering the village. Cllr. Richardson
There is strong community support for CSW. However, the team of volunteers who do the monitoring is still small. We would welcome additional volunteers so that the workload for everyone is reduced. If you simply want to know what is involved or know what you already want to volunteer, please contact Cllr Wheals who has now taken over responsibility from Cllr Richardson for coordinating the CSW activity in Westwood. Vetting and appropriate training will be provided by the very helpful CSW Police team based in Trowbridge. Cllr. Wheals
Article published: 07 Apr 2014