Call for permanent 30mph limit

Wilmslow Town Council and local residents are calling for the speed limit on the Altrincham Road to be kept at 30mph.

The speed limit on a stretch of the A538 was reduced temporarily from 40mph to 30mph in October 2012. The restriction was put in place for safety reasons whilst a new site access was constructed for the Waters Corporation's headquarters and the road realigned in the area.

However, local residents, with the support of town councillors, are now calling on Cheshire East Council (CEC) to make the speed limit of 30mph permanent.

Speaking at this week's Town Council meeting, Tony Molloy who lives on Altrincham Road said "Altrincham Road was never designed to accommodate 40 tonne plus HGVs, if they kept to the speed limit it wouldn't be so much of a problem but they pass our properties at speed and then break hard at the 30mph limit entering Wilmslow - causing more and more vibration to the premises. My two and three year old daughters are woken regularly by these vehicles who are ignoring the speed limit.

"All vehicles ignore the 30mph speed limit and I have found there are extremes. I walk my dog on the fields near my house every night and without fail I see at least one car overtaking another vehicle. In a 30mph limit they are overtaking vehicles doing 40 therefore I would estimate they are doing 60mph in a 30 mile limit."

Tony added "The Council has stated that the process will be that the 40mph speed limit will be reinstated on completion of the work at Waters.

"I would like the current temporary 30mph speed limit to retained so there would be a 30mph restriction for the safety of Wilmslow to the far side of the new roundabout at Waters.

"My wife crosses this road with our two young children regularly. Somebody is going to die again on this road and I do not want it to be my family."

Neil Byrnham added "I was pleased to see that the permanent 30 was extended from the school to Mobberley Road, which is a great step forward for road safety along there, but I feel it should be extended through to past Waters. I think it is only a matter of time before we have another fatality there."

Neil added "The speed limit is only part of it, the road construction is also part of the problem. The only way to get rid of the problem there is improve the actual road layout."

Cllr Gary Barton proposed that Wilmslow Town Council contacts CEC and gives their support for the 30mph to be maintained, from the junction with Mobberley Road out to the new Waters roundabout, and in the short term looks at how they can use technology and work with the police to monitor the speed on the A538.

He told "It is one of the major roads coming into Wilmslow. It is a long straight stretch of road and speeds are comfortably in excess of the speed limit. We regularly see accidents here, there have been nine reported incidents with injuries and one fatality, and there is regular damage to the street furniture.

"My primary concern is for the comfort and safety of residents. There are a number of families with young children living in this area and there are no pavements.

"This is a golden opportunity to work with Waters Corporation. We have S106 money for a crossing, cycle route and improvements so it is the right time to review as many aspects of that stretch of road as possible. It affects a large number of residents and the risk of a potential tragedy is too high."

Altrincham Road, Speeding, Wilmslow Town Council


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Rob McCall
Tuesday 22nd January 2013 at 3:29 pm
What a suprise. I would like to know how these accident figures compare to say, the new bypass built as a huge fast blind bend? (Surely the dual carriageway with a proper lane division that was originally proposed would be safer...) Point of fact is that road is close to a motorway exit, and as such people seem to forget that they're no longer on said motorway. If you don't like the idea of lorries driving past your house at 40mph, don't buy a house near a road where lorries are certain to do just this!
Mark Russell
Tuesday 22nd January 2013 at 6:14 pm
Couldnt agree more with Rob, what a load of nonsense, the q's to get into Wilmslow are long enougth at rush hour without making them longer by lowering the speed limit. Im sure when the local residents bought their house's they saw the speed limits and it did not bother them enougth to prevent them from buying in the local area??!!

If there were all these accidents people are talking about, there would be speed cameras up, so get it back up to 40 now the road works are finished and get the police down there with speed guns if its such a big issue. Im sure 3 points and a fine would focus peoples minds on the speed limits!!

If Tony is right the poilice would love to take drivers to court for doing 60 in a 30! (And good PR too)
Vince Chadwick
Tuesday 22nd January 2013 at 8:16 pm
Speed limits imposed by stealth? Impose a temporary, then hey presto it's not temporary any more?

This nonsense needs nipping in the bud now. It seems to be driven by opportunism from folk who bought houses on a major road and then complain when they get heavy trucks roaring past! It's a bit like buying a house next to an airport and them complaining about aircraft noise.

Also, it is disingenuous to impose a temporary limit to protect temporary road works, and then maintain the limit permanently when those works are completed!
Richard Bullock
Tuesday 22nd January 2013 at 9:56 pm
A 30mph speed limit as far as the Waters Corp HQ or as far as where the 50mph limit currently starts would likely breach national guidelines on the setting of 30mph limits which state that there should be at least 3 dwellings per 100m fronting onto the road. I think there are only 3 or 4 dwellings in total on the proposed stretch, which is nearly 1km in length.

I quote
"an average density of at least 3 houses per 100
metres over the extent of the 30mph speed limit is
recommended. This minimum density should generally
also apply for each 100m section, but particularly for
the first 100 metres of the speed limit at each end"

"This recommended measure of density, over which the
speed limit should apply, should be reserved to cover
the main body of the village only. The limit should
therefore not extend beyond these minimum
requirements except in exceptional circumstances"

I'm sorry, but a 30mph here would not be respected as it "feels" too rural.
Jonathan Follows
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 at 6:01 pm
I couldn't agree more with the previous four comments.
The planning permission notes that the new roundabout is in itself a traffic calming thing.
Proposing that the solution to people ignoring the speed limit is to set the limit even lower so that they'll ignore it less is not the solution.
As a driver I'm annoyed already about the 30mph extension but I can see that it has some merit and I observe it scrupulously.
But it's all to easy for local politicians to be influenced by calls like these because they can't argue the opposite case, so we need to be vigorous in saying that we disagree with the proposal.
And, indeed, the "temporary" 30mph is pretty comprehensively flouted from my experience, by all means ensure that the 40mph limit is enforced.
Tony Stamp
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 at 8:33 pm
I note with interest the underlying resentment from the 4 comments made as to the reduction of the speed limit on Altincham road. As a business man at the Morley Garden Centre for the last 7+ years I have seen the volume of traffic increasing year by year. The net result being that to attempt to pull out of our entrance onto the Atrincham road has become more dangerous. There have been two instances where frustration has lead to vehicles pulling out resulting in an accident, myself being one of them (not at fault I may add)! Now that the speed limit has been reduced my customers have found it easier to negotiate the entrance both pulling out and turning in (if you approach my entrance from Wilmslow at 40MPH the car behind has less chance to stop than at 30MPH).

I did not go into business to bemoan the fact that the speed limit has had an impact on my business, neither the fact that my shop vibrates every time a 40 tonne truck goes past at 40MPH, or more. However, road safety and the inherent speed limit has to be a steadfast principle for the well being and the impact that it has on the safety of other road users. Since the limit came into effect there has been a distinct reduction in the number of sirens from ambulances, fire engines and police cars travelling past my premises to attend to numerous vehicles that have needed pulling out of the hedge! I might of course be wrong but a quick call to the police traffic section or any of the other emergency services would, I am sure, confirm that the number of accidents has dropped since the reduction came into place.
In response

‘point of fact’

We all know that the motorist has no excuse for exceeding the speed limit whatever that limit is and to provide a 40PMH limit for their comfort just because they had pulled off a motorway is beyond reproach. As to buying a house next to a busy road does not make any excuse for the local authority/highways agency not to review the dynamics of the current road usage both in weight of traffic or speed. (I seem to remember that EU law allow the gross vehicle weight to be increased from 32 tonnes to 40 tonnes in recent times)
A factor currently missed in this discussion is the junction of Mobberley road and Altrincham road just in front of Mr Molloy’s house and the ongoing traffic chaos it creates at any time of the day. Just ask any walker or cyclist who attempts to cross the road or pull out, especially at night when it’s dark.

‘Traffic queues into Wilmslow’

These are not due to the speed limit but the volume of traffic flowing at peak times combined with the traffic turning into and out of Mobberley Road, traffic turning into the Texaco filling station and parents dropping off their children at Gorsey Bank CPS a bit further down.
The patience of motorists travelling into Wilmslow is tested every morning due to these problems and the reduction in speed limit has certainly made it possible for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate this junction with less uncertainty. I would suggest that any of the current contributors get on their bike and/or feet and attempt cross the Mobberley road junction at peak times or any other point along Altincham Road. They would then realise that they take their life in to their own hands

‘Speed cameras’

It’s a known fact that motorists are less likely to exceed a 30MPH speed limit than a 40MPH. In safety terms the stopping distance is far greater at 40MPH than 30MPH. As a consequence a 30MPH speed limit would enable traffic to flow at a safer rate regardless of the volume without hindrance to traffic flow. Anyone who can travel along this stretch of the road at 40MPH at peak hours is worthy of a medal or a ticket for dangerous driving!

The police I am sure to do not love to take motorist to court, they are purely there to enforce the law and hopefully prevent idiots driving too fast without regard to the safety of other road users. To commend that the 40MPH limit would encourage exceeding the speed limit by up to 30MPH would good PR is not in the interests any road user and show a lack of responsibility.

‘National Guide lines’

Well as stated in the last bit of the sentence in the last paragraph states ‘’ except in exceptional circumstances"
These are exceptional circumstances!

I agree

Only repeats the other 4 without any substance. To be annoyed with a sensible speed limit without the considerations of other road users shows a lack of practical understanding. I repeat try walking, riding or driving from the Mobberley Road junction or walking or cycling along Altincham Rd.

My comments as stated are open as I am sure, to constructive criticism. However I do not accept that people who only use the road at peak times and who are only in the vicinity for may be 5 – 10 minutes a day can give an objective view point as to the validity of a speed limit whatever that limit is and it s effect on road safety.

I would welcome these contributors and any one else to meet with me to enable them to realise the problems faced not just by my business and local residents but also those other roads users not always noticed by the speeding motorist.

Mike Shaw
Saturday 26th January 2013 at 10:36 pm
The debate on speed limits always seems to align itself as locals versus road users. As someone who counts as both, allow me to answer some of the points already made:

The authority are duty bound to examine accident figures as part of any speed limit re-assessment, so the facts will prevail on that issue.

If you buy a house on a busy main road then you should know what to expect, but you should also be able to enjoy an acceptable level of safety that is reviewed by the authority as traffic volumes and local conditions change.

When there are already queues of crawling traffic at peak times, changing the speed limit cannot possibly make those queues worse. In fact there are examples across the country where a lower limit has improved peak time traffic flow.

It is not disingenuous to make a temporary limit permanent if permanent conditions have changed to an extent that justifies the lower limit.

The guidelines previously quoted are not entirely relevant because they apply to village speed limits rather than those entering a larger urban area. Wider ranging guidelines were published only a week ago:

I quote:
“The key factors that should be taken into account in any decisions on local speed limits are: history of collisions; road geometry and engineering; road function; composition of road users (including existing and potential levels of vulnerable road users); existing traffic speeds; and road environment.
While these factors need to be considered for all road types, they may be weighted differently in urban or rural areas. The impact on community and environmental outcomes should also be considered.”

The 30 limit had already been extended to just past Mobberley Road. This was in my view too close to several of the hazards it was designed to protect; drivers coming in to Wilmslow were distracted by the change of limit at the precise moment they should have been looking for pedestrians and vehicles from the footpath and dwellings to the left (where there is no roadside footpath), traffic joining from Mobberley Road to the right and possible queues as traffic enters the filling station. The proposed extension to the 30 limit is 600 metres to the new roundabout, a stretch which includes 10 businesses and dwellings (including the cottages on the edge of the old limit), many of which have tight and/or partially blind access.

I firmly believe current traffic volumes and the number of potential hazards justify the proposed 30 limit, and if that alone failed to slow traffic sufficiently before reaching the concentration of hazards around Mobberley Road I would support enforcement by speed camera.
Vince Chadwick
Sunday 27th January 2013 at 11:36 am
Mike Shaw says "It is not disingenuous to make a temporary limit permanent if permanent conditions have changed to an extent that justifies the lower limit".

I disagree. A temporary limit is exactly that. This one was brought in to protect the roadworks at Stamford Lodge. Once those works are completed, the associated temporary speed limit should be discontinued. To turn it into a permanent limit is speed limit introduction by stealth.... disingenuous in other words, as I stated earlier.

If there IS a case to a 30mph limit on that section of Altrincham road, it should be argued for in its own right, not sneaked in on the back of a limit introduced for a particular circumstance, after that circumstance has ceased.
Mike Shaw
Monday 28th January 2013 at 5:53 pm
Vince, I do see your point. To clarify, yes the temporary limit is there to protect the roadworks. However this has prompted the debate that permanent conditions may have changed to the extent that justifies a new, permanent limit. So in many ways, the temporary limit itself is irrelevant. What we're asking for is the proper consideration of a permanent 30 limit, following the appropriate procedure and assessments.
Drew Donaldson
Tuesday 29th January 2013 at 2:48 pm
Having no desire to collect more penalty points and pay speeding fines, I now observe the speed limits. However we are kidding ourselves if we think by putting up a 30mph speed limit sign, the majority of road users will observe it. I have lost count of the number of times I have been over-taken on this stretch of road as I observe the new and temporary 30mph limits.

Human nature as it is, we only take notice of these things once we have been caught and penalised. Therefore unless there is a permanent and 100% effective solution to speeding in this area, prepar to be disappointed.

I personally think the parking of cars along this road on a Sunday, is a bigger danger. Come on East Cheshire extend the car park on Jim Evison to remove all the cars parked on the verge.
Vince Chadwick
Tuesday 29th January 2013 at 5:04 pm
It is true that if motorists perceive that a speed limit is inappropriate, some will ignore it. The danger then is that they carry their excess speed into areas where the limit is appropriate. An example is the extension of the 30mph limit on Knutsford Road from the Wilmslow / Alderley conurbation to beyond Warford Lane / Paddock Hill Lane.

The 30mph limit on the rural section of this road seems unreasonable to many, and it's regularly flouted. The problem is, the excess speed is carried into the built-up area. When the speed limit started at the built-up area, it made sense to motorists and was generally observed. The result is more speeding traffic in the built-up area than there was before the limit was extended out into the countryside.

Perhaps the phrase 'bringing speed limits into disrepute' is appropriate?
Rob McCall
Friday 22nd February 2013 at 4:05 pm
Point of fact is here, wether it is deemed reasonable or not, if it's been suggested by the right people, to the right people, it's pretty much a fait accomplis.

Look no further down the road than the airport tunnels, still a 50 after the completion of the second runway, having had that limit introduced as a temporary measure during roadworks.

Exceptional circumstances is a point of view, not matter of fact, that's why that's been put in the guidelines... Not carte blanche, but near enough for the politicians.