A campaign to improve road safety in Stroud has stalled because the town has the wrong sort of lampposts.
Stroud Council launched the road safety campaign after receiving a grant from the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner for four vehicle activated signs.
The Town Council was so inundated with responses from residents as to where the signs should go that they have decided to commit extra funding to the project so that the signs can be moved around.
Scores of residents nominated 13 town streets for the initiative, including two petitions totalling 324 signatures for Stratford Road and Parliament Street.
That was a year ago. Since then the Town Council and County Councillor Eva Ward have worked with the Highways Authority to determine the most suitable locations for the signs.
Now Highways has told the Town Council that the signs cannot be installed anywhere in the town because the lampposts aren’t strong enough.
“The Town Council has been working hard to take advantage of local funding for vehicle activated signs so that we can get evidence of this kind of behaviour and put pressure on the Highways Authority to take steps to address these problems,” said Councillor Ward.
“Sadly after a year’s work to get these signs set up, we have been told that the lampposts in Stroud aren’t strong enough to support even the lightest models. To say we are frustrated and disappointed is an understatement.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl, who has made safer driving a priority, was astonished to hear why the funding had not been taken up almost a year and a half after the offer was made.
He said “It’s obvious from the reaction the Town Council received that people in Stroud are desperate to do something to slow down traffic and make their roads safer so it’s very frustrating to hear the reason for the delay. It might be funny if it didn’t relate to such a serious issue.
“This scheme was launched 2 years ago and since then around 20 communities have had speed awareness cameras installed. But the time it’s taken others to get their signs has been disappointing.
“I don’t blame the county council as they have to make sure what goes up won’t come down, but this does seem to have dragged on far too long. I hope the two councils can hurry up and find a solution that works and that red tape doesn’t get in the way of local people doing their bit to make their communities safer.”
Now Councillor Ward and the Town Council are launching a Road Safety Group and inviting residents and businesspeople to be a part of it.
“Following the initial meeting of the Road Safety Group we expect to set up a couple of local Road Safety Groups and include local residents,” said Councillor Ward.
“Once established we hope to roll this out across all Stroud’s wards. This is an important issue and one which we hope to address with the energy and enthusiasm of local residents.”
Town Mayor Kevin Cranston said: “This work will dovetail with existing projects that we are looking at to promote alternative forms of transport such as cycling, walking and bus/ rail transport and hopefully make travelling around Stroud safer for all.”
The first meeting of the Road Safety Group will be held on the evening Wednesday 14th March. If you would like to attend please contact Kim Cowan at Stroud Town Council on 01453 762817 or email [email protected].