Dear Cllr Cockarill
Cricket Hill Yateley
As of 18 March 2016, Cllr Woodward stepped aside as Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment. I have now taken on the role of Executive Member for Transport and Environment and therefore will respond to your letter and petition dated 1 March 2016 concerning the above.
I am aware that this matter has previously been investigated and that the recent fatal accident has understandably further highlighted local concerns. In regard to the recent unfortunate accident, I must stress that there were circumstances involved that a reduced speed limit would not have prevented. However, as with all fatal and potentially fatal accidents that occur in Hampshire, this incident was investigated by the Casualty Reduction Partnership (CRP), involving officers from Hampshire County Council's Traffic & Safety teams, the Police and Highways officers. Whilst it was concluded that there were no defects with the road layout or surface, in view of the on-going local concerns it was decided to enhance the existing 'Gateway' feature at the start of the 40mph limit into Yateley and to make some changes to the road markings on the section of road through the Handford Lane junction. These measures and the accident history for this route were discussed with Councillor Collett at a recent site meeting and, subject to approval, are provisionally programmed for implementation this summer, with the objective to further enhance driver awareness on this route and to help lower vehicle speeds.
Whilst I note your reference to local community Police support for a reduced limit, this issue has previously been discussed with the Roads Policing Unit, who are the County Councilâ€™s point of contact for formal consultation regarding potential traffic changes. They have previously stated that they would not support lowering the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph on this route, as they consider existing mean speeds to be too high. Surveys undertaken in 2014, show mean speeds ranging from mid to late 30s. The Police current criteria for approving reduced speed limits is that existing mean speeds should be at or very close to the proposed new limit, unless physical speed reducing measures are also implemented as part of the scheme.
The Council receives many requests for engineering measures and priority is given to sites with recurring patterns and clusters of reported injury-accidents and where it is felt that engineering measures will help reduce the occurrence of these accidents. This section of Cricket Hill Lane does not have recurring patterns of speed-related collisions and as such it would not be a location considered for accident remedial measures through the County Council's safety programme.
Cllr Rob Humby
Executive Member for Transport and Environment