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Support invited for speed limit on Haverhill-Bury road

Tuesday, 12th February 2013.

Two of Haverhill's neighbouring villages have joined forces to reduce speed limits on the A143 and are inviting the town's residents to sign their petition.

Stradishall, which wants a 40 mph limit on the A143, and Wickham Street, which wants its 40 mph limit reduced to 30 mph, are to lobby Suffolk County Council together.

The two villages have been using a state-of-the-art radar to record the volume and speeds of traffic passing through the two villages. Campaigners have conducted several surveys over recent months and come up with impressive statistics.

"Nearly 90 per cent of traffic goes through the Wickhambrook-to-Clare crossroads at over 40mph. We believe that is too fast for a busy crossroads, particularly given that about 1,000 of the 5,000 vehicles each day are lorries and vans," said resident Tony Gearing.

Mr Gearing's family live in Woodfarm Cottage on one side of the A143 and have a market garden on the other side.

"We risk our lives every time we cross the road. Because cars are allowed to pass our house at 60mph, the national speed limit, drivers do not think they have to consider pedestrians at all.

"Often when we are crossing from our home to our garden with our toddlers, we have to pick them up and run because it is clear the vehicles are not going to slow down despite seeing us!

"If there was even a 50mph speed limit on this stretch it would at least stop many drivers thinking 'we own this road'. We want them to recognise they share this busy road with several homes and businesses and give us rightful consideration.

"It doesn't matter that there are not a lot of homes beside the road lives are still at stake!

"Research has shown ten people have died on this stretch of road. Even though the deaths have been over many years, it is still ten too many. A speed limit is well overdue."

Despite what they call this 'selfish behaviour' by drivers, the Gearing family have helped when vehicles have crashed near their home at least three times in the last six months.

Wickham Street, the hamlet around the former Plumbers Arms pub, has a 40 mph speed limit, which is broken by 54 per cent of the vehicles passing through about 2,500 vehicles every day.

Resident Sam Sykes lives in Manor House that exits on to the A143 near the closed pub. He said his family has to be very careful when exiting their drive.

"Even though we are 300 yards from the national speed limit sign, drivers start to accelerate while they are still in the built-up area.

"More than once we have had to make an emergency stop because an overtaking car or bike doing 70 to 100 mph is coming straight at us on the wrong side of the road.

"If Stradishall had a speed limit up to the start of our speed limit, fewer motorists would be tempted to drive like idiots through our village."

Wickham Street wants its 40 mph speed limit cut to 30 mph to match the speed limit in Chedburgh. "We too have properties that front on to the main road. We also have a dangerous crossroads. There is no logic as to why Chedburgh has a lower speed limit," added Mr Sykes.

Suffolk County Council has a moratorium on accepting applications for speed limits from parish councils except in special circumstances. The two villages believe their radar research proves it has special circumstances.

If you want to support the 'Safer A143' campaign, you can sign its petition at ipetitions.com.

You can also follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter. Like facebook.com/SaferA143 and follow @SaferA143.

Haverhill Online News

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