This report advises the Committee of any petitions received by the Council which fall within the remit of this Committee including a summary of the response sent to the lead petitioners by officers.
There is one petition referral request to be considered at this meeting.
The Committee received a report setting out a summary of petitions received by the Council which fell within the remit of this Committee.
Paragraph 3.1 of the report set out a summary of the responses to petitions that had been accepted by the petition organisers.
In accordance with the Council’s petitions scheme, one petition had been referred for discussion by the Committee and the lead petitioner was in attendance and invited to address the Committee. The lead petitioner was supported by Councillor Hubbard at the meeting.
The Committee welcomed Mr Bonney to the meeting and he set out set out his reasons for requesting a review of the petition and the concerns of petitioners summarised as follows:
· Residents are asking for the introduction of a 20mph speed limit (or preferably a 10mph limit) in the area of Strood identified by the petition.
· Roads within the area identified and, in particular, Weston Road are being used as a ‘rat run’ when there is traffic congestion in central Strood and whilst road works have been ongoing. This is causing problems of congestion in residential streets and damage to residents’ vehicles and has led to confrontation when drivers are faced with oncoming traffic in narrow roads.
· Whilst the current works in Strood are welcome and making improvements to the area, residents are fearful that that as drivers have become used to using residential streets as a short cut to avoid congestion, once the works in central Strood are complete, they will continue to use these alternative routes for their journeys.
· There are three local schools within the area which generate a number of movements twice a day for the school run. In addition, from a recent assessment of movements along Weston Road, a number of vehicles were transit vans and the times of these journeys aligned to the closure times of businesses on the Medway City Estate.
· Vehicles frequently drive at excessive speed to get through the area as quickly as possible and to intimidate oncoming drivers.
· Vehicles reversing quickly into a parking space to make way for a car to pass often results in damage to parked cars. Such damage tends to be minor and therefore does not get reported and logged as an incident.
· Whilst speed humps were installed in Weston Road 25 years ago, car design has progressed and these are now largely ignored by drivers.
In support of Mr Bonney and the petitioners, Councillor Hubbard addressed the Committee as Ward Councillor and endorsed the points raised by Mr Bonney. In addition, he referred to the proposed expansion of schools in Strood which would exacerbate the problem.
The Committee discussed the points raised and noted that there were other areas in Medway with similar issues where a 20mph zone had been requested. However, it was acknowledged that even if an area was designated a 20mph zone, this would only be effective if enforced. It was suggested that other alternative measures may be more appropriate for Weston Road such as making the road one way or closing the road at one end so as to prevent it being used as a short cut.
The Committee noted that the Director’s response to the petition had indicated that there was currently no traffic survey data available to determine the extent to which traffic levels had increased in the area.
The Head of Integrated Transport confirmed that whilst the road works in central Strood were nearing completion, some works had yet to be undertaken before the project was complete. Once the works had finished, it was considered that this would improve journey times and address any impact on nearby residential streets.
He confirmed that before the introduction of a 20mph zone could be considered, it would be necessary to establish an evidence base to justify any reduction in speed limit.
In response to questions concerning progress on the Committee’s outstanding request for a report on 20’s Plenty and the possibility of introducing one or more pilot areas in Medway, the Head of Integrated Transport informed the Committee that work on this was currently ongoing and a report would be submitted to the Committee once completed. It was noted that a number of other local authorities that had introduced 20’s Plenty schemes had experienced variable results and therefore the report would address the pros and cons of such schemes, based upon evidence gathered from existing projects for consideration.
a) noted the petition responses and appropriate officer action in paragraph 3 of the report.
b) thanked Mr Bonney and Councillor Hubbard for attending the meeting and addressing the Committee on the petition and noted that the Director of Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation and Deputy Chief Executive will arrange for officers to work with Mr Bonney to gather evidence concerning the number and speed of vehicles using Weston Road in Strood so that consideration can be given to the appropriate way forward.