TIM Ashton is back in the transport hot seat at County Hall – and more determined than ever to make sure 20mph limits on Lancashire’s roads prove an effective road safety measure.
But a wealth of public feedback on the issue means that more than three months since the consultation period closed for the Kirkham and Wesham area, and six weeks since consultation ended in most of Lytham, there is no sign yet of implementation in either area.
County officials say they can give no idea of the number of representations received, just that they are sifting through the feedback before preparing reports.
But Coun Ashton, who took two months off from County Council responsibilities to campaign unsuccessfully to be Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, says the wait for implementation won’t derail the plans.
He still aims for them to be in effect countywide by midway through next year – and he welcomes the feedback.
“It’s no problem – the more input we get from people the better, as we want to make this a scheme for the benefit of the whole community,” he said.
The lower limits are being gradually introduced under a £9.2m countywide project, with 20mph signs already erected in areas such as Freckleton, Wrea Green and Warton.
Consultation in Kirkham and Wesham closed in August, in much of Lytham midway through October and in other areas of Lytham last month, while the consultation in areas of St Annes already advertised runs until next month.
Coun Cheryl Little, whose Fairhaven ward in St Annes is among the latest to have 20mph proposals advertised, said: “I’m not sure the measures are enforcable and to be honest there are greater road safety concerns in our area, such as inconsiderate parking.”
But Coun Ashton, who represents Lytham on Fylde Council as well as being portfolio holder for highways and transport at County Hall, says he is determined the new regulations will be enforced, although ‘education’ for drivers would be the preferred option to penalties.