Motorists caught in village's speed trap
A STRING of court convictions is not enough to stop speeding through a village, residents say.
Enstone has become a speeding hotspot with numerous people appearing in Banbury Magistrates' Court after being caught out by its only camera.
On one day earlier this month, four people were in the dock having been filmed going over the 30mph limit.
Villager Andrea Bates, 68, campaigned for road safety measures for a number of years before a speed camera was installed on the A44 Oxford Road, where she lives, in March 1994. "There used to be an accident a month here and it was terrible. To hear thuds and crashes and to witness people being hurt is just awful.
"The skid-resistance road surface which was brought in in 1986 brought the accident rate down and the M40 extension that was built in 1989 helped even more. Then we got a speed camera facing the traffic travelling north."
Villagers believe the problem of speeding has been getting worse since the camera was switched to the other side of the road – where they say most accidents previously took place – in 2002. "Since they moved the speed camera, people are speeding up because they haven't got the deterrent anymore," Mrs Bates said.
"The speed of the traffic has increased enormously, vehicles are travelling too fast and they have to screech to a halt when they arrive at the crossing.
"They are doing 40 or 45mph when they should be doing 30. They should keep to the speed limit because it's a very nasty bit of road."
Figures from the Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership show that since 1990 there have only been six accidents on the road, three of which were deemed serious.
Dan Campsall of the group said it was unlikely a second camera would be introduced, as vehicles were recorded as doing average speeds on 29.1mph. He said: "Given that this is an A-class road, the collision record would suggest the current measures are reasonably effective and are doing a reasonable job at securing the safety of road users in the village."
But Mrs Bates is convinced a camera is needed on both sides of the busy A44. "The fact that there's only been two accidents since the camera was moved is luck," she said
"The speeding has got worse and it's only a matter of time before it happens again."
Yvonne Jones, who lives at the other end of the Oxford Road, added: "We hear screeching all the time and wait for the crash. Traffic, including large lorries, just hurtles through the village and we've all got to slow down."
The parish council wants the county council to introduce a 20mph limit and a sign by the school, aimed at encouraging motorists to slow down when children are going to and from the building.
Chairman Ian Henderson said: "There are always going to be people who speed. Our main concern is those that come down through the village at the time when children are going to school.
"We have been trying for some time to get a 20mph limit past the school when the school lights are flashing.
"I'm delighted to hear that people are being picked up by the camera."
And Mrs Bates pleaded with motorists to slow down to prevent the risk of accidents.
"The speed camera is there for a reason, not just to catch you out because the Government wants more money," she said.
16 November 2006