Progress on traffic calming in Colyford and Seaton Down Hill – MP, councillors and police thrash out solutions with Community Speed Watch teams and residents

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On Friday I chaired a meeting in Colyford in which interested parties discussed solutions to problems of speeding in the village and on Seaton Down Hill. Those present including Cllr Stuart Hughes (Cabinet member for Highways) and officers, Superintendent Elaine Hartley (Speed Watch Co-ordinator Peninsula Road Safety Partnership) and other police officers, Neil Parish MP (who had chaired two earlier meetings which had brought everyone together), and representatives of Colyton Parish Council and Seaton Town Council. In a lively meeting, progress was made including:

  1. Work should begin at the end of this month on a new pedestrian refuge in Seaton Down Hill.
  2. Surveys have established that the agreed crossing in Colyford would be best situated near the Memorial Hall, but problems associated with the school buses need to be resolved before this can go ahead.
  3. Devon Highways have accepted in principle that the 40 mph restriction on Harepath Hill could be extended past the A3052 junction with Seaton Down Hill (because of problems of visibility at the junction and the need for pedestrians to cross from the carpark to the footpath towards Holyford Woods). This change would mean that Seaton Down Hill would also be subject to a 40 limit, as asked for by the Speed Watch team and Town Council. However funding remains to be discussed and the change will need to go through the usual formal approval process.
  4. Two Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) for Colyford (one at each end of the village) are under discussion between Highways, the Speed Watch team and myself.
  5. An additional uphill VAS sign for Seaton Down Hill is under discussion between Seaton Town Council, the Speed Watch team and myself.

The meeting was also a landmark get-together of local Community Speed Watch teams. Teams from Rousdon, Wilmington, Knowle, Ottery St Mary and West Hill, as well as the Colyford and Seaton Down Hill teams who organised the meeting, were present, and were unanimous in complaining about the slowness of police administrative procedures, the lack of data sharing, and uncertainty about how Highways and the police used Speed Watch results. Elaine Hartley acknowledged these problems and promised a meeting of teams from across Devon and Cornwall in the coming months.

4 thoughts on “Progress on traffic calming in Colyford and Seaton Down Hill – MP, councillors and police thrash out solutions with Community Speed Watch teams and residents

    AndyB said:
    January 14, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    I cannot help but be highly suspicious about the motivations of people in these so called speed watch teams and the people that allowed or created them. It’s my opinion that they are just unnecessary do-gooders whose lives are so incredibly dull that they are desperate for some sort of status or pseudo authority.. If you look at the procedures they use they rely on equipment that isn’t reliable enough for the police and can’t be used in court. It is also affected by vibration from passing traffic and wind. These are ordinary members of the public who have been given the power to denounce other citizens with no accurate or legally accepted proof. If one of them had a grudge against someone they only need to add their names to a list and car number and they will be listed on the police computer as an anti-social driver. So you could be driving anywhere in the UK and get stopped by police on those grounds, anywhere and anytime.

    I think they are yet another version of the ever growing and unnecessary yellow hi-vis brigade. They wear hi-vis at the moment but how long before they stop wearing their bright yellow coats and walk among the general public with concealed cameras and covert listening equipment ? They are one step from it. and it is exactly the ploy that the NAZI regime used to get citizens denouncing other citizens.

    There are improvements needed in lots of places regarding traffic etc. but the taxpayer has been paying the Local and district authority and all their highly paid staff to do this as their job. So why haven’t they ? and where has the money to do that gone ?

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    Martin Shaw responded:
    January 16, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Over the top, Andy. Talking to people, not just the actual members of the Speed Watch teams, it’s clear that a lot of people are finding it a problem living close to, and trying to cross, speeding traffic. We need to be adjusting traffic to how people live, not the other way round.

    Speed Watch teams are not denouncing people, they are giving the number plates of speeding vehicles to the police, who send the owners warning letters. Drivers are not stopped by the police, let alone the teams, and the worst that can happen is that people who are regularly recording speeding may be visited by the police who will suggest they modify their driving. Hardly Big Brother, let alone the Nazis.

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    Andrew Bessford said:
    January 16, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    This is off the net but the groups all operate in similar ways.

    ‘A maximum of two letters in total will be sent to the same registered keeper. If CSW activity identifies a vehicle on a third occasion, where possible, the registered keeper will be visited by a CRO who will undertake a document check and give general driving/speeding advice. After this visit, the vehicle details should be circulated for possible targeted police intervention, with a view to prosecution, or other appropriate sanction’

    ‘Details will be circulated for targeted police intervention’. That means a marker is placed on your vehicle number and can be seen by any officer anywhere in the UK who may then just choose to stop you because of it to see what you’re doing. Which I think is an invasion of my privacy and freedom to travel. ….And this could be because a group of Amateur people, not Officers, They are not operating under any oath. Using equipment that is not adequate in Law can simply add your car number to a list. I can’t help being wary of this, it looks like the thin end of a very dangerous wedge to me.

    I feel that this whole scheme is dressed up in the sugar coating of doing public good. Yes there are many problems on the roads, I agree. I myself have been the victim in a serious RTA. but there are already mechanisms in place to solve this. Local authorities can put out traffic monitoring devices. Speed Cameras (fixed and mobile) Road furniture systems like humps and chicanes. We have Police officers and staff, local authority officers and staff, County authority officers and staff all being paid to gather any data and sort this as their job, but they aren’t doing it. So why are a bunch of yellow jacketed volunteers doing it ? Is anybody asking that ? Is this Cameron’s big society ? I’ve nothing against volunteering, it’s more about how the volunteers are used.

    On another note whilst on the subject of road safety both myself and my partner on different occasions have had similar experiences on Harepath Rd. Whilst driving along a lone male on the pavement started waving his arms and gesturing very vigorously. I thought something was wrong like he was ill or been mugged or just needed help for somebody else, perhaps in a house. I stopped and started to reverse and this idiot just ignored me and walked off up a side road…..My partner had a similar experience in the same place. She is NHS and thought the man was having a heart attack so stopped to assist but the idiot just walked off. Both on days the speed watch group were in Colyford and we believe this idiot is connected to that group and believes his divine calling is to lord it over all road users. Another typical case of pseudo status going to someones head. If you ask around I expect you will find other local drivers have had similar experiences.

    .

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    AndyB said:
    January 16, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    I would also be interested to know what amount of information governance training these amateurs have had and whether they are all trained or just the area coordinator ? Also how many people in the group have access to data gathered and if any of them are DBS checked. Furthermore, where is this data of ‘offending’ car numbers stored before and after being passed to Police.? How is the data storage secure ? How long does the group hang on to data ? Who else can see or have access to the data ?
    I think this whole scheme just causes bad feeling, division, and resentment among communities and does very little to actually solving the real issues. While at the same time we have a vast number of highly paid professionals who should be solving the real issues but aren’t.

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