Speeding triggers questions over use of speed gun in Sidmouth

Sidmouth Town Crest

Sidmouth Town Crest - Credit: Archant

Questions have been raised over how a publicly-funded piece of kit can be better used to tackle speeding, after the issue was named among residents’ biggest gripes.

Town councillors heard this week how 88 per cent of the 1,107 respondents to a major questionnaire said transport – including zooming motorists – featured in what they disliked most about living in the valley.

One member highlighted Sidford Road, Arcot Road, Temple Street and Vicarage Road as hot-spots for drivers flouting the legal limit and called for a police crackdown.

At the same meeting, councillors raised concern about how often a refurbished speed gun – they splashed £1,250 on two years ago – had actually been used.

Chairman Councillor Jeff Turner recalled a community speed watch scheme taking place in Sidford High Street shortly after the equipment was purchased in March 2014, but could not recall anything after that.

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He said: “If people are concerned in particular areas, they can band together, ask for that camera, have some tuition on using it, set up their own community speed watch and just see what is happening in their particular area. I think having a community speed watch is something everyone should bear in mind.”

Cllr Michael Earthey said he had received numerous complaints about speeding motorists.

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“There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of police activity regarding speeding vehicles,” he told the meeting.

“It is not occasionally - on a Sunday afternoon you can just hear the motorcycles racing up and down the road, but you don’t see a policeman, you don’t see a speed camera, you don’t see anything.”

Speaking after the meeting, town clerk Christopher Holland said: “The last time a community speed watch took place, in Sidford, Sergeant Andy Squires reported that, although there was a perception of speeding, when the speed was actually measured, it was found to be well within the legal limit. The town council will, however, be asking the police to supply information on the recent use of the speed gun which was bought for them by the council. I know the police will be carrying out future operations.”

PCSO Phil Thomas had told councillors: “The reality is there is speeding everywhere. When we get reports, we try and do something positive with it. It is very difficult when you have two policemen policing five towns. It can be very difficult to get the staff out, but we will do what we can, as PCSOs, to get the speed gun out - our powers are very limited.

“We will try and do something positive and arrange to get the speed gun out and get some figures.”

The survey result over residents’ concerns was among the findings of a questionnaire for the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan. These were presented to the town council by Tim Salt, an administrator for the plan’s steering group. The ‘transport’ topic highlighted featured issues such as speeding, traffic, parking and cars.

Anyone interest in forming their own community speed watch group can e-mail Sidmouth@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk for more.

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