The sudden change in location of the speed limit signs was discussed at the parish council meeting on 28 January 2021, extract from the draft minutes below:
It was noted that as part of the adoptions process between Buckinghamshire Council and Taylor Wimpey that the 30/60mph commencement point had been moved from the white gates to the junction of Warwick Road. It has been raised to both BC Highways Development Management (adoptions) and the Community Board as being unacceptable to double the speed limit, especially without consultation, and to locate the new point so close to the Warwick Road junction.
Having initially stated that no changes could be made, it was noted that Highways DM were now reviewing what measures they could put into place, that would be DfT compliant and that would enable the 30/60mph start point to move back closer to the gates. The details of this, and the timescale, were as yet unknown as Highways DM continued to negotiate with Taylor Wimpey and explore options with contractors.
It was noted that the parish council had asked for additional speed mitigation measures to be considered as part of the review process, such as 30mph paint markings in the highway at the point of change in speed limit and countdown markers painted in the road on the approach to the gates. To provide as many visual prompts for traffic to slow as were permitted.
It was also noted that the parish council had requested a full breakdown of potential speed mitigation measures for Westfield Road that may either be considered as part of the adoptions process or possibly able to be taken forward through the Community Board. A brief response to this from Highways DM was shared at the meeting. It was RESOLVED to seek permission to publish this information on the website, along with the anticipated statement from Highways DM on what remedial works they plan to reverse the 30/60mph relocation.
The 4 residents in attendance with an interest in this issue spoke about their concerns relating to the change in location and their desire for the signs to be returned to the original location whilst the remedial works were considered. The parish council has been told on numerous occasions by Highways DM that TVP will not approve their relocation back to the original position, nor for them to be covered over in their current location.
Buckinghamshire Councillor Town confirmed that he was also opposed to the sudden change in location.
It was RESOLVED that the parish council would continue to push Highways DM for a resolution via the adoptions process. It was RESOLVED to seek further information relating to a TRO. It was also noted that the parish council had requested this be tabled on the Community Board Transport Subgroup meeting (supported by BC Derek Town and Co-ordinator Peter Brazier) and noted that Highways DM had been asked to attend that meeting next week. Cllr Saintey is in attendance on behalf of Pitstone Parish Council. Residents are welcome to attend.
Buckinghamshire Council (BC) and Thames Valley Police (TVP) have now conducted a thorough review of the speed changes that were implemented at end of Westfield Road. We are pleased that they have now put into place some remedial works which will see the 30/60mph zone moved a further 70m back towards the original position at the white gates and further away from the Warwick Road junction (now 80-85m from the junction). Full details are available in the transcript of the email issued by Buckinghamshire Council below. A copy of this communication will also be issued by BC direct to residents that wrote to Buckinghamshire Council.
Thank you for your emails concerning the above. I received a number of similar emails and I am providing you all with the same response, now that we have been able to establish the details of the background of this issue, and confirmation of the proposed action that was agreed by Thames Valley Police (TVP) and Buckinghamshire Council (BC) at a site meeting held at Westfield Road on 25th January.
Description of the issue;
The 30mph speed limit on Westfield Road was placed some 18-19 years ago and commenced at a point that coincided with the white village gates at the very edge of the development. The area outside of this being a National Speed Limit (60mph) past the Local Wildlife Site.
However, as part of the adoption process that Taylor Wimpey (TW) are going through, that will facilitate the adoption of Westfield Road (along with the remainder of the whole estate) by BC, it was noted that the absence of any street lighting in the vicinity of the gateway feature identified that the speed limit did not comply with regulations and was not compliant with current legislation and therefore, unenforceable.
To ensure compliance, the speed limit signs were moved, over the weekend of 16-17th January, to a point that coincided with the last street lamp positioned on Westfield Road. This places them 10 to 15 metres from the centreline of the Warwick Road junction. No consultation was required to effect this change, even though the speed limit was effectively ‘doubled on this stretch of road from 30mph to 60mph’, as the change was required to address the anomaly on what is currently an ‘unadopted’ road, albeit that the adoption Agreement with TW enables a speed limit to be applied to this road.
The distance from the current last column, which now has the 30/National Speed Limit signs affixed to it, to the ‘gateway’ feature is approximately 132 metres. There is also a ‘badger’ warning sign positioned around 75 metres from the current last column.
Considerations and agreed action;
An initial discussion concerning the issue took place between Taylor Wimpey (TW) and the Council (BC), where it was agreed to seek the views of TVP and the BC Road Safety Team – who have a significant input into the assessment of proposed speed limit changes in the County – which resulted in the following;
Notwithstanding the 30mph limit that is in place along the residential section of Westfield Road, national speed limit guidance suggests that; having no ‘frontage development’ (that has direct access on to Westfield Road), the limit that should be applied is 40mph, which would then allow the side roads to be signed as 30mph.
However, in the prevailing circumstances, it was agreed that the existing 30mph limit should remain in place, with the following amendment being applied to the signage at the southern end of the entrance to the village and the BC Street Lighting team, provided the following as a guide as to how the issue could be taken forward;
“Current guidance suggests that a road should be lit, 5 seconds of travelling time before a ‘hazard’ is encountered.
And that the distance travelled in 5 seconds at 30mph is 67m, with the maximum permitted column spacing in these conditions being 37m with a standard maintenance LED lantern”.
Therefore, from this (taking the Warwick Road junction as being the hazard), it was decided that the recommended course of action was that 2 new columns, at 35 metre spacing, should be installed, so enabling the start of the 30mph limit to be moved a distance of 70m from the current last existing column, giving an overall distance of approximately 80 to 85 metres from the start of the repositioned 30mph limit to the centreline of the Warwick Road junction.
This outcome has been discussed and agreed between BC and TVP and now all possible avenues are being explored that will allow the necessary works to take place in the earliest possible timescale.
A final point to note and in lieu of the decisions/ impending action being taken, is that the Parish Council (along with a number of residents) made a request for the currently relocated 30mph signs to either be removed or put back to their original position, until the above could be enacted, to which the answer given was ‘no’, because, as a result of comments made by TVP, whilst the development remained unadopted, the roads and footways forming the estate were open to use by the travelling public and therefore, the signs provided must comply with all legislative requirements.
We hope this information is useful and helps to provide an understanding of the situation and intended course of action.
Cllr. Nick Naylor
Cabinet Member for Transport
Whilst it is disappointing that the location has not been able to be moved back to the original location, highways must legally comply with the Department for Transport regulations.
As part of the review process, the parish council asked BC to consider what speed mitigation measures were permissible to ensure that vehicles did slow down to the 30mph, and remain at that speed for the duration of the residential section. BC has agreed to investigate the possibility of countdown markers in the carriageway on the approach to the gates and a 30mph painted sign in the road as part of the adoption process with Taylor Wimpey. Originally, there was just the single prompt of the gate/sign point to advise drivers to reduce from 60mph to 30mph. The new proposals would provide the countdown road markings, then gate, then 30mph road markings, then signs, so may be more effective at warning vehicles to slow to the appropriate speed.
BC have also provided initial information about a range of speed mitigation & safety measures that may/may not be appropriate for Westfield Road in the longer term, not as part of the adoptions process, but which might be able to be raised through the Community Board Transport Sub-Group. Previously it has not been possible to consider any of these options, as the highway was not adopted, so the legal adoption as a public highway will enable a range of options to be considered as necessary. It should be noted that any changes to the public highway have to go through a lengthy process with Buckinghamshire Council / Transport for Bucks and will require local funding for any measures that are approved. This document was initially shared at the parish council meeting and is available here:
The above document includes a number of measures that were suggested by residents in their correspondence to Buckinghamshire Council, so we hope that this information will be of interest.
Ensuring vehicles remain at the designated 30mph until they pass the derestriction sign, as they travel towards Tring, will remain a challenge.
In addition, we have made enquiries about a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). A TRO can take 12-18 months to put into place and includes an extensive consultation with statutory bodies, one of which is TVP. As TVP have been fully involved in the recent review exercise, we are advised that they are unlikely to support a TRO application for the short remaining section (approximately 60m) of Westfield Road where the change in speed limit now applies. However it may be possible, in due course, to apply for a TRO to provide a 40mph buffer zone between the 60mph and the 30mph, if the initial measures do not prove effective.
The next Buckinghamshire Council Wing and Ivinghoe Community Board Transport Sub-Group meeting is taking place on Thursday 4 February 2021 18.30-19.30 and Westfield Road is on the agenda. Members of the parish council, along with Buckinghamshire Councillor Derek Town, will be in attendance. BC Highways Development Management has been asked to attend and supply information. Members of the public are welcome to attend. Information about the meeting and how you can register to attend can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2501876303441962/
We will post an update following the meeting to keep residents informed.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents that took the time to write to Buckinghamshire Council about this issue, as it has helped the parish council to demonstrate the strength of local concern regarding the initial changes and helped to secure the proposed amendments.
Following the Community Board meeting, once we are in full receipt of information from Buckinghamshire Council, the parish council will be able to review what next steps we can take. Westfield Road will appear on the next full parish council agenda for 25 February 2021 and we will keep residents advised of any further information we receive in the meantime.