Friday, 8 Dec 2023

Posh seaside town could get 20mph limit as residents all make the same joke

Residents in a posh seaside town have seemingly all welcomed a proposed 20mph speed limit because traffic is ‘lucky to get above a snail’s pace’ anyway.

Authorities in Southwold, Suffolk, are ruminating over a plan to bring the speed limit down from 30mph in the historic tourist town’s centre.

The Government has announced plans to curb council powers to impose speed restrictions nationally after a backlash from the public in some areas.

A controversial blanket 20mph limit in built-up areas was put in place in Wales last month.

But in Southwold it appears locals are happy to have traffic told to go slower because it can’t move very fast anyway, thanks to “narrow streets” and people standing on the road “queueing for fish and chips and ice cream.

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Marion Gaze, from the cooperative Craftco, said most cars were not going fast through the town anyway.

She said: “On bank holidays pedestrians take over the roads queuing up for fish and chips and ice cream, so it should be traffic free really, traffic free Southwold that’s what we need.”

Ms Gaze added the authorities should find some more land on the outskirts of the town to put more parking in place so people could be shipped in by public transport.

Daniel Smith, from clothing retailer Denny of Southwold, welcomed the traffic calmer measures.

He said: “Southwold is busy a lot of the time of the year, the roads are very narrow, if a car speeds down the high street you notice it because it’s a fairly narrow road.

“There’s lots of sharp corners, if they were to introduce it I don’t think it would have much of an impact because a lot of the streets are small.”

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Another resident, Phil Coates, said on social media cars were “lucky to get above 10mph in the summer”.

And Sara Field added: “You can’t go faster than 10mph, because the holiday makers step out in front of your car.”

Honor Dunkley noted that often it was so busy in Southwold that people did accindentally “step out into the road”, she said: “Maybe it could be something that was enforced in the summer with a set of flashing lights”.

Brennan English said most drivers could not reach 20mph with traffic backed-up in front of them.

The Journal newspaper in Lowestoft reports Southwold Town Council’s roads committee is commissioning traffic surveys and will consider implementing the 20mph across the town.

Currently the publication said Suffolk County Council does not allow 20mph limits on A and B roads.

East Suffolk councillor David Beavan, who represents Southwold, said the scheme would be a “big step forwardd” for the town. He said: “A 20mph limit for the whole town monitored with cameras would be a big step forward.”

And Southwold Mayor Simon Flunder said: “I think we have got to be specific about our area and we have potential safety issues in the town.

“It is a one way system and we are looking to reduce safety issues and one of the proposals that seems to be supported by the public is a 20mph speed limit.”

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