We received a rough draft three weeks ago, and today had the opportunity to see further details and discuss the proposals with senior Highways officers.
This discussion was around the proposed 20 mph speed limit in the Castlefields estate.
After the presentation it was agreed that the entire Castlefields estate would be classed as a 20mph zone.
Another option would be to only have the main drive 20mph which we think would be inappropriate.
We have prepared a FAQ list below-
Q-Why have you requested a 20mph speed limit in this area as there are few accidents recorded for the area ?
A-We are future proofing the area due to various factors such as the new retail park & increase in housing in the town as well as people now working from home more.
q-Was there research carried out before the estate was built re speed limits ?
R- Yes there would have been when the estate was built just 20 yrs ago and it was agreed then that the various speed calming measures were installed but no speed reduction.
The estate was built with many bends to add to the general image but also assist with speed calming.
Q. But the town has grown considerably since Castlefields was built so we have more traffic in Prudhoe now.
A- New estates have been built on the old Hospital site, but a major investment creating a new roundabout has drawn traffic that way rather through other parts of the town.
The roundabout was built after a traffic assessment written as part of the planning process recommended it.
Q- Can Castlefields but restricted to residents only ?
A)No it is like other estates it is a public road and access has to be maintained.
Q- how will the 20mph zone be shown ?
R- Signs on poles and road markings at the entrances & repeater signs on lampposts. Approx 100m apart.
Q- was there a traffic impact report carried out for the retail park application and were the public allowed to comment then ?
A- Yes but the report did not flag up any major concerns about an increase in traffic or make recommendations for change.
People use cars to shop out of town already, there are other shops available in the town.
Q) What else has been done to reduce traffic issues relating to the new retail park?
A) The provision of a bus service was not planned for, we approached the developer and planners who have agreed to work with the bus operators to extend the current routes from the interchange centre to the retail park.
Bus operators always look at the feasibility of new or amended routes incl on financial grounds.
Research shows that bus use has been reduced greatly over the recent years,many people now keep on driving their own cars into older age.
We are supporting the front street traders association in various ways including entering into discussion regarding public transport improvement.
Q- if the recent report did not flag up any issues why go to the work and cost of implementing this traffic reduction ?
A- We were not in office when the report was drawn up and we are taking what we believe are sensible steps to discourage people from using the estate as a short cut, making it a far slower route than the low Prudhoe road.
Q- How much will this cost ?
A- it will not be cheap, but we have asked that NCC carry out the work rather than contractors.we have been in discussions with NCC for many months but due to the workload of the staff it takes time to come to the top of the list.
We have managed to quicken the process by paying a few thousand pounds to commission the report, this is taken from our annual Councillors small scheme allowance.
Q- How has this quickened it ?
A- There is only a limited amount of money in the Highways improvement budget and such schemes are usually planned for a one or two years ahead under what is called the annual local transport plan, they are looked at and points awarded against proposals from all parts of the county. Not all proposals are successful.
For us to pay for the report frees up the LTP cash and pushes it up the list.
Q- so how have you got the budget to do this now ?
A- we are having to dig deep into our Cllrs annual small scheme allowances and take a huge chunk out, the scheme allows for this type of spend but we have traditionally used it to support the wider community with projects or equipment such as for schools and community groups.
Q) should the retail park developer not pay for this additional work not the tax payers.
A) As far as we are aware it was not asked for, but that was finalised before we were in office.
Q- You mentioned the report would be signed off has that happened ?
A- No the tweaks and agreement today are a big move towards that, even though the Cllrs have agreed to that it is still tax payers money and a written document has to be produced and the spend justified.
Q- has there been any research done to see if vehicles are speeding along Castlefields drive ?
A) Yes, electronic strips survey and Police speed checks, there was not an usually high number of vehicles being driven above the speed limit.
Q) A car travels through the estate at what I think is excessive speed can this be dealt with ?
A) The Police are responsible for enforcement, you are recommended to report such issues to them.
Q) Vehicles park on the main drive what can be done about this ?
A) This post is about speed calming, If vehicles are causing an obstruction the Police can deal with this.
See below about the planning process for the proposed new housing estate, you may wish to raise your suggestions about other traffic issues as part of that process.
Q) Are there many road traffic collisions ?
A) No very low number recorded compared to other roads, and speed has not been shown as a main contributory factor.
Q) what happens now ?
A) A final report is drawn up and the price of the job is confirmed.
Application submitted for funding to be released.
Then it is passed to the NCC legal dept who have to prepare a very long and detailed report as the zone covers so many roads.
Then a TRO (Traffic regulation order) is prepared and advertised in the press and on NCC website.
Notices will be placed on lampposts in the area.
This is the time that the public from anywhere (not just the estate can give their views and object)
This process will take it into the new year.
Q] will anyone object ?
A} we have already been approached by a resident who does not see the need to make this a 20mph zone.
So it may happen, if there are objections we will of course consider the opinion & views expressed.
Q) when will the work start ?
A] depends on various matters, anyone objecting,the weather, the construction team being booked, COVID restrictions etc
But hopefully early next year.
Q) can it not be sorted earlier ?
A) This has really been done quickly to reach this stage, and the legal process can not be hurried.
Q) will there be full consultation with the public .
The Prudhoe town council will be asked to comment, they could object but its unlikely.
Residents can object at the TPO stage or e mail their County Cllr if they have serious concerns at this time.
But no formal consultation, as the plan is to reduce the speed limit and that will have minimum impact upon the residents.
To introduce a formal consultation would delay the process and is not required in law.
Q) Can the public see the proposals ?
A] don’t see why not once they have been priced up and authorised
We will let everyone see by posting on this site and our various social media platforms.
And they will appear on the NCC website so people can form their opinion.
But don’t get too excited they are not that interesting.
Q) will the rumble strips on the side roads be removed as they are there to slow people down.
Q) will we be getting HGVs through the estate when the retail park is open ?
A) it would be a long and slow way for them to go, but could happen.
We have also asked for signage to say unsuitable for HGV’s on the main drive, these will be installed at the same time.
Q) I do not like the chicanes and their location.
A] they are in place to slow vehicles down, this proposal is solely to introduce a slower speed limit.
As part of the current planning application process regarding the housing development south of Broomhouse lane (legion site) like all major developments a team of highway & planning experts at NCC look into impact upon traffic levels & road safety in the immediate or wider area of the site.
We have asked them to review all such speed calming measures.
Some people want to see them remain, others want them removed.
Some people want speed ramps and some dont.
Some people want them made higher others think they are fine as they are and do their job.
We await the recommendations.
Q) what can be done about people parking vehicles next to chicanes.
A)This post is about the proposed speed reduction.
But -This may be a road safety issue such as dangerous parking, you may wish to point this out to the vehicle owner / user.
Or inform the Police as it is an offence to park a vehicle in a dangerous position, NCC can not deal with that.
Q) Can a report not be prepared now re other speed calming measures I think would help ?
A) that would be duplication of work.
Q) can I object to or make comment about that development application, about anything including traffic.
A) Yes we encourage the public to participate in all planning applications, see link below or via NCC website, planning section.
Q) If the new houses are built how will it impact upon Castlefields ?
A) The proposal is for access to new houses via Tilley Cres just off the main drive, so it will increase the number of vehicles & pedestrians in the area.
This will be taken into account by the planners.
just because there are more vehicles on the road does not always mean there will be more speeding.
Q) will there be much disruption with the 20mph zone being made?
A) No, possibly a few minutes delay as road marking are put down but thats about all.
Q) will the speed reduction make a massive improvement.
A) It is hoped so, but the drivers of vehicles are the only ones who can reduce the speed of them.
Q) do the 20mph speed limit work in other parts of the town ?
A) They will reduce the speed of law abiding drivers.
Residents in other parts of the town often tell us that many drivers do not abide by the lower speed limits, this includes streets where there are chicanes, speed bumps and parked cars on the side of the road.
Sometimes near Schools
often the reduced limits add to ‘road rage’ and dangerous overtaking as some drivers become frustrated by other drivers adhering to the law.
such issues should be reported to the Police.
Q) where else has speed restrictions around the town ?
A) Many estates, we have invested heavily over the last few years introducing speed reductions around schools.
Q) Will there be more speed reductions introduced around Prudhoe.
A) Possibly if there is a need, this estate Is unique because of its size and close proximity to the large retail park.
Update 1/10/20 we have now received the NCC officers initial report we requested to look into the speed reduction. This has not yet been ‘signed off’ we have asked for time scales for the process and that includes the implementation. ————-
Following many discussions with residents about their concerns regarding vehicles being driven at excessive speed along Castlefields drive we asked a senior officer to look into improving the road safety in the area.
Research has been conducted and a design brief prepared by NCC advisors is expected to be completed by the end of this month, after this is provided consideration will be given for the speed limit in that area will be decreased to 20mph or/ and any other measures they propose.
This research and any measures to be added will be partly funded by Gordon & Ken’s annual members allowance scheme.
We will provide additional information in August 2020.
A reduction in the speed limit etc will make it a less desirable route for drivers cutting through to the bypass etc.
Understanding the planning process – CLICK HERE
Planning application re Low Prudhoe Development – CLICK HERE – application ref 18/03945/REM
Issues relating to traffic movement were dealt with under the planning application ref Ref 16/02082/OUT
See a link to 62 documents referred to in the 2016 report. (this is only part of that application)
Note -A reduced number of units are currently being built in the park than permitted due to the economic climate.
The current application relating to the proposed housing development is 19/04782/REM
Check out our dedicated web page relating to this application – CLICK HERE
Dealing with everyday issues everyday of the year.
(We do not take reports or enter into discussions via social media but offer a wide range of methods for residents to contact Gordon & Ken their County Cllrs
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