06:00PM, Friday 05 March 2021
Residents in Oakley Green are ‘disappointed’ with Thames Valley Police after being told that traffic enforcement in the area is not a priority – despite an increase in speeding heavy vehicles.
Oakley Green and Fifield Community Association (OGAFCA) wrote a letter to the police about concerns that they had around Oakley Green Road, which runs through Oakley Green.
During a recent speed check, 100 people were caught speeding by an average of 5-7mph over the course of an hour.
Residents are especially concerned about the speed and prevalence of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).
The Royal Borough had in the past agreed to a speed limit reduction of 40mph to 30mph – however the police objected to it.
In a letter to Thames Valley Police, Barbara Frame, chair of OGAFCA, asked why the police would block a measure that has been requested by the community to protect their safety.
Traffic management officer Dave Edmond wrote back to say that Thames Valley Police had not received any consultations for a reduced speed limit in Oakley Green Road.
However Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray) said that Thames Valley Police did in fact object to the change in speed limit unless the Borough took physical steps.
“You (the council) can go ahead without police agreement, but you do so at your own risk,” he said.
“If they say enforcement won’t work without physical measures, then you won’t see them around enforcing, so there’s no point.”
The Royal Borough is now looking to introduce trial measures, possibly road narrowing.
Mr Edmond wrote that Thames Valley Police is ‘not opposed’ to reducing speed limits if they will reduce casualties, but considers Oakley Green Road to be a ‘low risk area’.
He added that reducing the speed limit may have ‘unintended consequences’ such as unsafe overtaking.
In response to OGAFCA’s request to enforce new speed limits by mounting random regular speed traps, Mr Edmond wrote: “We believe that enforcement will never be a substitute for engineering measures that deter or discourage the opportunity to speed.”
Mrs Frame told the Advertiser: “To say that we are disappointed with their response is putting it gently.
“Just because there hasn’t been a serious accident yet, that doesn’t mean there won’t be one. We are seeing continuous and substantial increases in volumes of traffic.
“Footpaths are narrow to non-existent, with blind bends on the road – and lately there are more and more walkers and hordes of cyclists at the weekend.
“We would have preferred that the police at least didn’t stand in our way, and we would have liked a little empathy, not the standard brush-off.”
OGAFCA’s letter also asked for enforcement the 7.5 tonne weight restrictions for HGVs, as these are currently being ignored.
Mr Edmond responded that weight limits are difficult to enforce as it would involve an officer following the offender through the entire length of the restriction before the vehicle can be stopped.
“The signage in place does not consistently mark a clear end to the restriction, which makes it difficult for drivers to comply with and for authorities to enforce,” he wrote.
The candidates standing in the upcoming Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner election have outlined their priorities for policing in the region.