MP vows to take fight against Thorpe Bay speed humps scheme right to the top

Tory MP James Duddridge has pledged to take his fight to stop speed humps in Thorpe Bay to ministers in Whitehall in an effort to confine the scheme to the dustbin.

Mr Duddridge, the MP for Rochford and Southend East, plans to write to Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, and Southend Council’s chief executive Andy Lewis over controversial plans for speed control measures.

His intervention follows a residents’ meeting at St Augustine’s Church Hall in Thorpe Bay on Monday.

In a letter to organisers Mr Duddridge said: “I want you to know that I object to these proposals.

“They are ill-thought-out and have not been properly consulted on. They make no sense and cost a fortune.

“The Conservative group opposes this scheme. They are proposed by so-called Independent councillors in Thorpe ward that prop up a Labour-led coalition.”

Mr Duddridge will meet with residents on Friday to discuss the issue.

The plans, funded with a £500,000 Department for Transport grant, also includes 20mph speed limits.

Kevin Buck, Conservative councillor for Prittlewell ward – who attended the meeting – said: “The meeting was extremely well chaired by two residents, who ensured that throughout, the meeting remained entirely apolitical.

“It was estimated by a straw poll that several hundred residents attended the meeting, with standing room barely available in the church hall , so this would be considered extremely representative of the demographic.

“Many spoke and made their views unambiguously known, with an overwhelming majority stating they feel let down, disappointed and unrepresented by this current proposal.

“An almost unanimous vote was recorded for a public consultation and questions were asked regarding how action can be taken to stop the current proposal, to allow for a full review by highways officers and a public consultation in to the recommendations.”

Cllr Ian Gilbert, Labour leader of Southend Council, said: “From my point of view this is a pilot and if it’s not successful, if after experiencing it it doesn’t do the job it is intended to do it can be reversed.

“I’m in favour of the 20 mph limit and I back the 20 is Plenty campaign which has significant evidence on how it makes roads safer.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter