Southend councillors clash over speeding blackspot

A row has erupted over why the worst road for speeding in Southend has not been tackled in two years – as it was revealed a massive 85 per cent of cars are going too fast on the route.

Whitehouse Road was flagged by councillors in a report in 2018 as being dangerous, yet other highways have been escalated “to the top of the agenda”.

During the confrontation on Tuesday, councillor Kevin Buck (Con), who represents Prittlewell Ward, told the chairman of the Traffic Regulations Working Party, Councillor Ron Woodley (Ind), that the report was published in late 2018 and they have had two years to solve the problems of speeding on Whitehouse Road.

He said: “This administration has had two years of that data to take action.”

Councillor Daniel Cowan (Lab), who represents the St Laurence ward, said: “I do feel we are way past at the point of looking into things. I am frustrated that we have no intervention for almost two years especially on this particular issue and especially around Whitehouse Road and Western Approach – these are roads with obscene amounts of speeding.

“We have known for a long time about the issues on Whitehouse Road, we know there is accident after accident there. Why haven’t we done anything on the existing top 50 already?”

Cllr Woodley said that he was not on the committee in 2018 and therefore would not have had sight of this report or any report.

He said: “I wasn’t on the committee Councillor Buck, if you want to make a comment on the report – make a comment on the report.”

He said during the debate that he doesn’t want to exclude him from the meeting nor silence Cllr Buck, but he wants the committee to work together and steer away from making political statements.

Cllr Woodley said Whitehouse Road is being looked into since the last accident and he will bring a report to the next meeting.

New data for the roads has started to be collected and will be discussed in the next council meeting, on February 22.  This will involve a ‘workable list’ of the top 50 roads that have already been presented, with new roads added.

Cllr Woodley said more than 1.6 million has been spent on highways over the last five years and the 20mph speeding limit on roads around schools is crucial.

He added that bringing in speed cameras on Eastern Avenue is going to cost a third of a million pounds.

He said: “Speed is increasing and there’s no doubt about it because there isn’t much traffic on the roads. Shoebury Common Road is a nightmare, and we are looking to bring in a zebra crossing proposal, but this takes money and there is not a lot of money about. We are knocking and pulling at the door and trying to squeeze it open to do the thing that we councillors do.”

Southend Council has released the list of the top ten worst roads for speeding in the borough:

  1. Whitehouse Road – 84.6 per cent of  vehicles exceeding speed limit
  2. Elm Road, Shoebury – 80 per cent of  vehicles exceeding speed limit
  3. Eastwoodbury Lane – 70.3 per cent of  vehicles exceeding speed limit
  4. St Georges Park Avenue – 63.10 per cent of  vehicles exceeding speed limit
  5. St Lawrence Way – 57 per cent of  vehicles exceeding speed limit
  6. Green Lane – 56.30 per cent of  vehicles exceeding speed limit
  7. Station Road Leigh – 56 per cent of  vehicles exceeding speed limit
  8. Eastern Esplanade/Thorpe Esp – 55.4 per cent of vehicles exceeding speed limit
  9. Western Approaches – 52.20 per cent of  vehicles exceeding speed limit
  10. Crosby Road – 50.30 per cent of vehicles exceeding speed limit

Angela Sharda

Local Democracy Reporter