Southend councillor’s ‘nimby’ comment over road safety scheme angers residents

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A leading Southend councillor has come under fire for calling residents concerned about the installation of speed bumps during a pilot road safety scheme “small minded nimbys’.

Ron Woodley, deputy leader of the council, presented a controversial scheme to cabinet on Wednesday, which seeks to introduce 20mph speed limits in certain roads on Thorpe Bay and Leigh.

The plans, funded with a £500,000 Department for Transport grant, also include the use of speed humps, speed pillows and build outs onto the carriageway to reduce speeding at certain junctions.

Despite a report on the pilot scheme referring to the installation of raised tables, speed cushions and speed humps to “act as a physical calming measure forcing drivers to slow down on the approach and whilst going over a speed bump” Cllr Woodley dismissed some Thorpe Bay residents’ concerns using the “not in my back yard” acronym.

He said: “When we’re talking about raised tables we’re talking about three inches off the carriageway with slopes. It’s about making people aware they are approaching a junction. When we are talking about speed pillows we are not talking about bumps.

“I want to make people safe using our roads and our footways and the people that object to this are small minded nimbys and don’t want to do anything that upsets the status quo.”

Cllr Woodley, who recently announced he is going to resign his cabinet post over “bullying” by Conservatives, added: “We know about accidents that happen in Thorpe. A few years ago we had a child killed and one severely disabled. In one junction alone there’s been 18 accidents in four years.

We’ve had a garden wall knocked down three times and cars have ended up in the grounds of a local church.”

Cllr Tony Cox, leader of the Conservative group, said: “This is a tactic used by Ron Woodley and the Independents when someone disagrees with them.

“It’s quite disturbing that if you disagree with them you are a small minded nimby, racist or a bully.”

Thorpe Bay resident, Kathering Holland, said: “As a lifelong resident of the Thorpe Ward, I was disgusted to hear Ron Woodley calling his own constituents, “small minded nimbys.

“This is a proposal that has been put forward without any statistical evidence to support these measures or consultation residents.”

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter