TRANSPORT bosses are set to introduce a new 50mph speed limit on a busy road near York – despite neither residents nor police wanting it.
Deighton villagers have called for the stretch of the A19 which runs through their community – currently a 60mph zone – to be reduced to 40mph, claiming it is the only way to prevent future accidents.
But City of York Council’s cabinet member for transport issues, Coun Dave Merrett, will be asked on Monday to agree a compromise solution which would see the section of the route become a 50mph zone instead – although North Yorkshire Police say the existing speed limit should not be lowered at all.
The 40mph campaign, including a petition signed by almost every Deighton resident, intensified following the April death of 18-year-old Rosie Jean Missett, of Leeds, who was hit by a vehicle near the White Swan pub shortly after getting off a bus.
However, the council said the road did not meet Government guidelines for a 40mph limit and so proposed a 50mph limit instead.
A report by traffic engineer Philip Irwin said cutting the limit to 40mph “would not have the desired effect in slowing traffic”, and although the proposed scheme was “not ideal”, street lighting and work on the road surface could slow traffic down.
The cost is expected to be £30,000, with another possibility being a 40mph limit on the stretch of road between the village signs at either end of Deighton, possibly with 50mph “buffer zones” either side.
Objecting to any speed limit changes in a representation to the council, North Yorkshire Police said speed had not been a factor in any of the ten recorded “injury accidents” in the area over the last three years.
The force said its data showed there was “no issue” with speed and safety problems were more associated with traffic volumes, but a 50mph limit would “achieve nothing tangible” and could even make the road less safe.
Deighton residents said in their objections to the proposed 50mph limit that “common sense” should take priority over Government guidelines, adding: “What we are asking for is that our basic safety needs be treated like all other traffic-challenged communities in and around York – most, if not all, enjoy the 40mph protection we are denied.”