Pilot speed limit schemes set for Southend

Controversial pilot schemes for 20mph speed limits in Southend are imminent, it has been revealed.

New 20mph environmental zones in Thorpe Bay and Leigh could be in place in February, according to the council’s deputy leader Ron Woodley.

Shoebury has been named as the next area for the zones to be introduced.

Speaking in a Thorpe ward residents’ newsletter, Cllr Woodley said: “It now seems apparent that the 20mph environmental zone for areas in Thorpe Ward are coming close to fruition. Council officers are aiming for the project to go to council cabinet in January and if approved through the scrutiny and council process, work could commence in February 2022.

“Conservative councillors are totally against 20mph environmental zones in residential streets and will do their utmost  to block this approach.

“Please remember the initial two areas that are being considered are Thorpe ward and Leigh ward but we are ahead of the game and hopefully this will be in place during February to April next year.”

Cllr Woodley said he hoped all councillors would support the scheme to improve safety on Southend streets by deterring speeding motorists.

All Southend residential roads will have a 20mph speed limit under plans to improve the environment and improve safety.

James Courteney, Conservative councillor for Chalkwell ward said the Conservative would not necessarily oppose the plans completely.

He said: “My view is that it should be looked at on a road-by-road  basis. Areas around schools or areas where there is a risk of speeding might benefit.

“It’s all well and good putting these limits in but you need to enforce them. People will ignore a blanket 20mph limit and it would take a lot to enforce it.

“Idiots would be driving round ignoring them at 2am and we can’t have speed cameras everywhere, that would be down to the police.”

The council currently operates a 20mph zone along Marine Parade in Southend where there is a shared space area. The system is operated with average speed cameras.

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter

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