Gareth Wilson

Liberal Democrat Campaigner for Haddenham & Aldreth Learn more

Road Safety in Haddenham

by Gareth Wilson on 24 April, 2012

The Parish Council and your District Councillors have been trying to get improvements to Station Road traffic and speeding over the last 10 years.  Some improvements have been achieved but there is still much to be done   Most of our Road safety achievements were initiated by our Parish Council Road Safety Working Party and a bid was put to a jointly funded minor Highways Programme.  These items won over other bids from other Parish Councils and were funded jointly by the Parish Council, the District Council and by the County Council.  Only one bid per Parish was allowed by the JFMH bid system so only one of these was done in any one year.  These bids all had a maximum spend limit. 

  We have recently located a 40mph buffer zone further out along the   A1421  in an attempt to get vehicle speeds down to a more appropriate level before the terminal 30mph signs are passed.   This was a compromise as the Parish Council wanted to get the 30mph moved round the bend in Station Road, but we were only able to persuade the County Council to put a in 40mph stretch.  However this was much better than nothing. 

We have also successfully bid a few years ago to get the flashing 30mph signs, which were also jointly funded.  However this was provided on the basis that the County Council would maintain them.  It has been very difficult to get proper maintenance and you will be well aware of the problem of the continuing flashing of the sign in Station Road, which makes it much less effective.  The Parish Council regularly writes to the County Council to get these fixed.

 The work done at the crossroads was a bid to assist pedestrians at this dangerous and busy junction.  Better lighting and changes to the footpaths and road marking certainly helped.

 Kevin Hall from the County Council Highways Department reports that “Hopefully soon we will be able to make some amendments to the speed limit positions on the A1123 towards Earith and Wilburton”.  If we get this, it will be the result of our Road Safety Working Party suggesting a bid and completing the forms that I presented to the County Committee, with the offer of 50% funding from the Parish Council.

 Major changes to traffic calming on Station Road have proved impossible, as the County Highways Traffic Department would not put any of the Counties Major Highways budget into these suggestions.  In fact they have vigorously resisted such measures, because Station Road is an “A” road (A1421).  We even tried to get the road downgraded to a “B” road so that Sat Navs did not pick it up so readily.  We have asked for traffic lights or crossings but these were too expensive for the Minor Highways bids and were not supported by the County Council, although they did spend several hundreds of thousands of pounds on strengthening the Station Road bridge, when a cheaper option of imposing a weight limit, would have dramatically reduced the amount of traffic and provided the funds for other road safety measures.  Nine years ago we asked for a roundabout at Witcham Toll junction, but were told we would have to wait.  We still are.  Six years ago, after a lady was killed on the Grunty Fen road, Pauline put up a slow down dangerous bend sign because we could not get any action from the County highways authority.  They were very quick to pull up our home made signs but less quick to paint a short white line on the road, slightly better than nothing.

 The Parish Council has attempted other measures.  One of the major problems is the fact that many lorries use Station Road as a rat run.  We have tried to prevent this by contacting local major hauliers and requesting them to use the A10 and A142 as an alternative.  We have had meetings with the managers of the straw burning plant and continue with regular communications.  We have tried to insert into major planning permissions a routing agreement preventing the use of village roads with a degree of success.  I have been attending, for the last eight years, a regular coordinating meeting of parishes including Cottenham, Earith, Sutton, and Mepal to reduce the problem of HCVs in Haddenham.  We have persuaded the County to start a measuring system taking into account volume of traffic, width of footpaths and other factors to see if restrictions could be proved necessary.

 The Parish Council has organised the regular measurement of NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide) the pollution gas of traffic, particularly lorries.  We have recently taken part (at considerable expense) in pollution measurements on our roads including noise, vibration, particulates and polluting gasses.  These figures will enable us to prove with reliable statistics that we need to prevent some of this traffic that drives through Haddenham. 

Your Parish Councillors and District Councillors have attended many meetings organised by the District or County Council to press for improvements.

 Three members of the Parish Council have participated in Speedwatch.  However, we need more volunteers from the village to measure traffic speeds in the village.  Many people are quick to complain, but less ready to join in and help, by giving some of their time to assist with Speedwatch.  Speeding drivers recorded by Speedwatch will be contacted by the police and receive a letter of warning.  If certain roads, such as Station Road can be proved, in this way, to be suffering from too much speeding, the police will put in their own speed camera team and speeders will be prosecuted.  When I, with the Chairman of the Parish Council, Julie Parr, measured traffic speeds in Station road using Speedwatch last year there were a large number of speeding vehicles, including some large commercial vehicles.  If Speedwatch did regular checks many drivers would slow down as a precaution, but this would require more volunteers.

The Parish Council is trying very hard to get road safety improvements.  But this is against the budget restrictions of the County Council, as they are responsible for our roads and traffic management and the fact that two “A” roads go through the centre of our village.

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