A FINCHAMPSTEAD resident has accused Wokingham Borough Council of “playing Russian Roulette” with children’s lives.
Spencer King, who lives on Nine Mile Ride, is frustrated at the “constant speeding” up and down his road and says he has contacted the council twice to raise the issue with no response.
And he fears that if drivers do not abide by the speed limit, children, pedestrians and cyclists will be at serious risk.
“At some point, a death will occur,” the resident warned.
According to the borough council, Nine Mile Ride is a “strategic link” within Wokingham borough.
But Mr King says that people “persistently travel up and down the road in excess of the 30 miles per hour speed limit.”
And he says that he has contacted the council twice to request traffic calming management, once in August and again in September, and was furious when he heard nothing back.
Now, Mr King has accused the council of “gross neglect in communicating with residents on the matter” and says his frustration lies in the process of reporting the issue.
Wokingham Borough Council has since been in touch with Mr King, apologising for the delay in response.
“There was a system failure with our online form, which meant that the resident’s requests were not passed to the council’s traffic management team,” said a spokesperson for Wokingham Borough Council. “The error has been fixed and we are looking into whether the system failure has impacted any other requests.
“We have apologised to the resident and have responded directly to him about his concerns.”
Simon Weeks, ward councillor for Finchampstead South, shares Mr King’s concerns about traffic safety on the road.
“The road is pretty straight, it has good visibility and it’s lined with trees so a lot of drivers feel like they’re in the countryside rather than an area where people live, so they tend to drive quite quickly,” Cllr Weeks explained.
And he has been advocating for better safety measures on Nine Mile Ride for more than 10 years.
In 2007, the councillor campaigned to have the road’s speed limit reduced from 50mph to 30mph.
And prior to the coronavirus pandemic, volunteers were monitoring traffic up and down the road once a week, passing on the details of those who were exceeding the speed limit to Thames Valley Police.
“People were not prosecuted, but it was a form of education,” Cllr Weeks said. “And now it’s stopped, speed limit levels have crept back up.”
Now, Mr King and Cllr Weeks both hope road safety can be improved and are urging people to stick to the speed limit.
Cllr Weeks added: “There’s no likelihood of the speed limit being reduced again because clearly it’s a busy road that’s used by a lot of traffic — 30mph is deemed an appropriate limit so what we need to do is persuade people that the limit is there for a reason.”
A spokesperson for Wokingham Borough Council says that it acknowledges the negative impact speeding can have on residents.
And says that earlier this year, the council undertook a borough-wide consultation on speed limits which included Nine Mile Ride.
“Although our data shows off-peak traffic speeds in this area are slightly above the 30mph speed limit, compliance levels at other times are high,” the spokesperson explained.
“The road has a generally good road safety record, given the significant number of vehicles it carries each day, and benefits from a number of traffic calming measures like raised junctions and central hatching, that the council has already installed.”
The council said it will continue to work closely with police to ensure speed limits on the road are enforced.