Campaign to halt speeders changes gear

VILLAGERS who clubbed together to buy a speed gun and used a camcorder to record footage of lorries speeding along their road are now gathering signatures on a petition for permanent speed calming. Three fathers living in Oilmills Road, Ramsey Mereside, t

VILLAGERS who clubbed together to buy a speed gun and used a camcorder to record footage of lorries speeding along their road are now gathering signatures on a petition for permanent speed calming.

Three fathers living in Oilmills Road, Ramsey Mereside, took turns to film and monitor speeding cars, but they were forced to stop after they received threats of violence from passing motorists.

They say, so far, they have met a flat refusal when they have asked Cambridgeshire County Council for traffic calming similar to that in other villages.

However, they plan to apply again next month.


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Robert Mumford, who has a five-year-old daughter, has written 140 letters to authorities he thought might help. These have included Ramsey Town Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, Keith Walters, the leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, the chief constable of Cambridgeshire, Julie Spence, and Shailesh Vara, MP for North West Cambridgeshire.

Mr Mumford said: "We are doing this for our children. They have to cross the road twice on the way to school, once to get onto a footpath and back again to get to the bus stop."

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Last June, villagers held a blockade, sealing the road for the whole day from 7am until 9pm, using 60 vehicles including some lorries from Simpsons, a haulage company in the village.

Mr Mumford said: "On the day before the demonstration, as we were handing out leaflets, a speeding lorry, racing through the village carrying tractors lost part of its load. A large piece of metal flew off part of one of the lorries and hit a Transit coming the opposite way, shredding its tyre and causing it to lose control. It was lucky that the van was hit and not the three children who were walking along the path. This is just one of many examples."

There are about 250 homes in the village. The £350 cash for the speed gun was raised at last year's village fete. During one 16-hour period, Mr Mumford said, they recorded 870 vehicles speeding.

During that time, the average speed in the village's 30mph zone was said to be 42mph. The fastest speed was 70. The average in the 40mph zone was 54mph and the fastest speed was 98.

Mr Mumford said: "There are no warning signs, flashing signs or road markings to alert drivers that children are present in the morning and evening. Other villages, such as Hemingford Grey, Alconbury Weston and Hill Rise in St Ives, have more than adequate markings, yet Mereside has none.

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