Biggleswade Community Safety Group’s new device to help tackle speeding

PUBLISHED: 08:26 22 February 2018

Sun Street, Biggleswade. Picture: Google Street View

Sun Street, Biggleswade. Picture: Google Street View

Archant

Anyone thinking of speeding around the roads of Biggleswade will have to beware after community volunteers’ bid for a device to catch out fast drivers was accepted by the town council.

Biggleswade Town Council has decided to buy the £2,400 speed indicator device for the Biggleswade Community Safety Group – a small organisation involving 12 volunteers who cover the Streetwatch, Speedwatch and Neighbourhood Watch schemes.

The safety group’s work on Speedwatch has been limited due to a lack of shared equipment, and its members hope the new device will help reduce speeding on roads that have been risk-assessed by police – with the aim of preventing crashes and possible injuries or fatalities.

The community safety group originally applied to the town council two months ago for a grant to support the purchase of the device.

The application statement said: “Speeding on the main and through roads of Biggleswade is an increasing issue but the Speedwatch patrols are limited due to access of the relevant equipment. Many of our local villages are fortunate enough to have their own equipment which is purchased and owned by their parish councils, but needless to say they are reluctant to lend their equipment to our team.

“Bedfordshire Police budgets have been subjected to substantial cuts over recent years, causing loss of personnel and hence the purchase of equipment is even more limited.”

Rather than approving a grant, the town council last week decided to instead fund the purchase outright from its current budget.

The group – made up of volunteers vetted and trained by police – told the Comet they were likely to have the device within a month or two, and would be prioritising roads assessed and prioritised by police.

A community safety group spokesman said: “In the past we have concentrated on main through roads such as Shortmead Street, London Road, Holme Court Avenue and Hitchin Street.

“We hope now to include Potton Road, Baden Powell Way and possibly Sun Street, St John’s Road and The Baulk.”

The volunteers wil record the volume of traffic, along with times and dates. This data will be fed back to police, with regular reports to the town council as well.

The purchase comes a month after the Comet highlighted the concerns of Sun Street resident Tushar Bhatnagar, over speeding motorists using a one-way system around the town introduced back in 2016.

His worries led the police to watch traffic there for a week – with officers finding more than 95 per cent of drivers in Sun Street kept to the 30mph speed limit.

Some 33,575 vehicles were seen going past, of which 1,617 went too fast and 10 went down the one-way street the wrong way.

Police concluded that this did not support the need for a speed camera or other traffic calming – but Mr Bhatnagar disagreed.

Concerns were raised about speeding in Sun Street as far back as October 2016, during the initial one-way system trial.

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