Residents of St Neots villages speak out over speeding and rat-running

Traffic in Yelling.

Traffic in Yelling. - Credit: Archant

Residents are calling on drivers to stop rat-running – and speeding – through their villages.

Parish Council member Ann Tossell, in the High Street, Toseland.

Parish Council member Ann Tossell, in the High Street, Toseland. - Credit: Archant

Yelling and Toseland – between St Neots and Papworth Everard – have become traffic hotspots during the morning and evening rush hours for drivers avoiding the congested A428.

The speed limit through Yelling Road is 30mph, while signs stipulate that cars should not exceed 40mph on the High Street in Toseland. However, figures from Yelling’s Speedwatch initiative show 30-40 per cent of traffic is breaking those limits.

And a 2012 survey clocked almost 500 cars travelling east through Yelling during the morning peak. This compares with 778 cars using the eastbound carriageway on the A428.

Yelling parish councillor Sanchia Ascroft told The Hunts Post: “It’s been a big concern of the parish council for a good number of years that we are a rat-run for the A428. We were staggered by the numbers in the survey. We haven’t redone the statistics since 2012 but I would say they are at least the same.

“It is frustrating for people that are trying to get out of the village.

“It is also inconvenient and annoying to have that traffic volume coming past your home. The answer to our problems is to dual the A428.”

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The parish council has applied to Cambridgeshire County Council for traffic calming measures – with a preference for a chicane – to be installed at the western end of the village on Yelling Road. While this will not affect the volume of traffic, they hope that it will slow vehicles down.

Cambridgeshire County Council confirmed that it has contributed £8,000 – with a £1,500 contribution from the parish council – for the chicane to be installed. A 40 mile per hour buffer zone will also be established about 150 metres further west of the 30mph signs at the western end of the village. Work is set to start in the summer.

A spokesman added: “The parish council identified speeding as a problem in the area and we worked with them and the community to bring forward a traffic calming scheme.”

Pat Dillon, parish clerk for Toseland Parish Council, explained that they have tried a Speedwatch scheme and interactive speed signs have been installed but the problem still persists. While a chicane would not be suitable in Toseland – it would require the installation of street lights in the village – they hope to apply to CCC for funding for footpaths.

She added: “The flashing signs have worked a bit but there are people who just wallop through here. It can be very dangerous to walk up the road and very difficult to get out of your own property.”

Ann Tossell, Toseland parish councillor, added: “Since we came 28 years ago it has been a problem. It is a problem shared with most villages in the country, unless they have traffic calming.”

The calls for safe and considerate driving are particularly pertinent as there have been two fatalities in the area. Rebecca Diane Cepeda, 26, was killed in a three-vehicle crash in Toseland High Street in 2008. And the year before 15-year-old Matt Dean died after he was hit by a van in Toseland Road, Yelling.