Councillors Back New Speed Limits On St Mary’s

Council Chambers at Old Wesleyan Chapel

Councillors have backed new speed limits in Old Town, Hugh Town and near the new school.

Sergeant Charlie Craig told councillors that, ‘the time has come’ to change the limits.

Chief Technical Officer of the Council, Neville Gardner, said there have been complaints about driving practices in the town including comments made in visitor surveys.

Members favoured a 20mph zone in last nights council meeting but it will go before the full council and won’t be brought in that quickly if they approve it – Neville pointed out that getting a speed restriction in place is a lengthy procedure requiring permission from the Secretary of State.

And there’ll need to be consultation with road hauliers and emergency services before any change is introduced.

Councillor John Goddard said the restriction was long overdue and 20mph was still too fast.

Neville explained that the law will only allow limits in units of 10 mph because thats the way speedometers are marked.

Previously, it’s been suggested that an island-wide maximum speed limit should be adopted. It is currently the national speed limit, 60mph, across all of St Mary’s.

But the Police felt that it will be better having an area with a lower speed limit because that would reinforce the need to slow down.

He said Old Town’s nature has changed with more families and a road to cross for a shop, childcare and pub.

There would be merits in lower speed past the school. The plan is to restrict parking too and there’d be a proposed ban on cars on the Old Town seafront when school kids are likely to be around.

A previous attempt to bring in a control was dashed because extra signage was required and more regularly spaced street lights were needed. Those conditions have now been dropped.

Speed signs will need to go up but just in four zones. They will be at the turn from the airport onto the road to Old Town and coming up the Carn Thomas Hill from Porthmellon.

There would also be a sign as drivers leave the Quay as it is a an entry point for vehicles coming off the boat and, unusually, by the Garrison Arch as you are entering a private road at that point.

Reinforcement messages will be written onto the road, not with paint but with a plastic type material.

Councillor Richard McCarthy was nervous about backing the plan as there were only two St Mary’s members out of the six councillors present.