‘It’s a matter of time before there is a serious accident’ - call for action against speeding on Ottery’s outskirts

Paul Johnston of The Old Post Office, Fairmile, is appealing to motorists to slow down. Ref sho 3361

Paul Johnston of The Old Post Office, Fairmile, is appealing to motorists to slow down. Ref sho 3361-16-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

A resident who has been battling for two years for measures to stop speeding traffic on Ottery’s outskirts says lack of action could ‘cost a life’.

Dr Paul Johnston, 59, has voiced his concerns about drivers who regularly exceed the 30mph speed limit on the old A30 at Fairmile, but feels he has so far been ‘fobbed off’ by authorities.

Police have agreed the area is a speeding hot-spot, but say enforcement does take place and action is due to be stepped-up after a recent recruitment drive.

Dr Johnston, a research scientist, said: “In my view, it is only a matter of time until a speeding car or HGV causes a serious accident.

“Only then, I suppose, will we find out what value the various authorities place on a life. They either need to give us, as residents, an opportunity to go out and catch people, or go down there more themselves.”

He believes the problem will only get worse as the police force is increasingly over-stretched and said Devon County Council has repainted road markings, but that this is not enough.

The road used to have a 50mph limit, so Dr Johnston says many drivers disregard the law, jeopardising the safety of children who have to cross it to catch the school bus.

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Claire Wright, Ottery’s district and county representative, said she has visited the site with highways officers and agreed measures need to be put in place to reduce the speed of traffic.

“I do hope it will move up the priority list,” she said.

Sergeant Chris Leisk, of Ottery’s neighbourhood policing team, said: “We do get quite a few complaints from that area. Last month, we issued five tickets there and gave another six drivers verbal warnings.”

He said any excessive speeding is a danger, but the tight bends and hill make this stretch of road particularly hazardous.

Sgt Leisk added that a number of new special constables will be undergoing training to enable them to support police enforcement work on Ottery’s roads.

He also said there is a community speed watch scheme, which gives residents opportunity to record speeding drivers, that can act as a strong deterrent.

Email otter@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk or call 101 and ask for the Ottery neighbourhood team for more information.