Hagworthingham Parish Council takes up the gauntlet to tackle speeding

Community Speed Watch.
Community Speed Watch.

Fed-up councillors in a local village have set up a Community Speedwatch operation in the battle to improve safety on ‘one of the most dangerous roads’ in the county.

Members of Hagworthingham Parish Council have described the A158 through their village as a ’racetrack’.

They say despite repeated requests - and a number of serious accidents - Lincolnshire County Council has refused requests to lower the speed limit.

The Hagworthingham section of the A158 was recently ranked second among the most dangerous roads in Lincolnshire by one motoring organisation.

The parish council has joined the countywide Speedwatch programme.

It involves the public staging their own speed checks, using approved radar guns.

Although volunteers are trained, they do not have any power to stop or punish drivers.

However, they can report offenders to the police who, in the first instance, will send out a warning letter.

Police can take stronger action - if the same driver becomes a repeat offender.

While leading the Speedwatch initiative, councillors in Hagworthingham are hoping residents will join them.

Coun Jan Morris-Holmes said: “The A158 is an absolute racetrack. It’s awful.

“It carries all the traffic to and from the coast. It’s a nightmare in the summer, but it is getting worse all year round.

“There are lots of children and older people in Hagworthingham, and a busy cafe on a ‘blind’ bend and hill.

“There’s no pedestrian crossing and no ‘lollipop’ ladies or men,

“We’ve already had a number of serious and even fatal accidents.

“I’ve been a councillor for 10 years and we are always talking about speeding.

“We’ve tried to get the County Council to do something about speed limits, but they just ignore us.

“That’s why we’ve joined Community Speedwatch. We hope it will make a difference.”

Coun Morris-Holmes said a training session had already taken place, with another planned for this month.

She added: “Ideally, we need at least three people at each check.

“Councillors are taking part but it would be tremendous if residents were involved as well.

“People are always complaining about speed. Now, there’s an opportunity to do something about it.”

Coun Morris-Holmes said ideally, councillors would like a 30mph limit introduced. The current limit includes stretches at 40 and 50mph.

More villages are ‘adopting’ the idea of a community Speedwatch.

Coun Morris-Holmes’ views come after councillors in Horncastle were assured the scheme does work .

PCSO Nigel Wass was replying to comments about a Speedwatch scheme on the A153 in West Ashby.

He said: “All the feedback is drivers are slowing down.

“We are aware speeding is an issue for many villages. We do carry out spot-checks but we can’t be everywhere all of the time.”

One resident told Horncastle councillors that while speeding on the A153 had reduced, it was still an issue.

He said: “They (volunteers) stage the checks at the wrong time - when it’s quiet.

“There are still people going 70 or 80mph. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Regarding Hagworthingham, Graeme Butler, from the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership, said: “Whilst there has been a serious collision recorded in the village within the last five-year period, it is not accurate to label this section of the A158 as the second most dangerous road in the county.

“However, we are aware of the parish council’s concerns and have worked with them to set up the Community Speed Watch project

“There is also the potential for this to be expanded so that the community can carry out their own speed enforcement from time to time.”

•Lincolnshire’s Community Speedwatch scheme has been running since 2014 with over 200 parishes involved.