Langholm’s ‘20’s Plenty For Us’ campaign to reduce the speed limit on the A7 through the town’s high street from 30mph to 20mph, believe Transport Scotland has admitted its own mistake, as it announces a fresh consultation to improve the road’s safety.
The last consultation carried out by Scotland’s national transport agency concluded that stopping cars parking and loading with double yellow lines would make the high street safer and ease local fears. But the Muckle Toon’s ‘20’s Plenty For Us’ campaigners disagreed.
“Up until now Transport Scotland (TS) has refused to accept our points,” said Langholm resident Bill Telfer. “We argue that there is a need to civilise this street, and it should be based on a reduction of the speed limit to 20mph.”
Explaining the campaign’s background, Mr Telfer said: “TS held a consultation as far back as 2008, and put out a Draft Traffic Order in December 2011, consisting only of proposals to further restrict parking and loading.
“This would have the effect of increasing the speed of traffic: parked cars contribute towards traffic calming, and encourage drivers to moderate their speed. The police have always made it clear to TS that removing parking increase speeds. Objectors realised if the parking is eliminated, cars and lorries could go bombing straight through the town. Traffic would become more aggressive than ever.”
Via a Freedom of Information request, Mr Telfer discovered the contents of TS’s consultation, and began questioning and criticising its reasoning – just in time for the deadline for public objections in January.
“The draft order was no more than a notice on a lamp post, and we were only given a month to respond,” he told us.
“For 10 months TS has been considering the objections. Finally (and we believe due to pressure from 20’s Plenty For Us and other objectors), they said last week in a letter: ‘Having considered these objections we now consider it is appropriate to undertake further consultation within the community with a view to further refining our proposals. It is anticipated that a revised Draft Order to regulate the prohibition of waiting and loading/unloading on the A7 High Street in Langholm, shall be published.’”
Mr Telfer added: “But we don’t know what form the consultation will take: a small display of plans, or a public meeting, or correspondence in the press? The definition is vague.”