A BLANKET speed limit of 20mph on residential roads will not be introduced but new guidelines have been drawn up for communities wanting to see speed limits reduced.
More than 1,500 people signed a petition calling for 20mph speed limits in all residential areas throughout West Cheshire, backed by Labour councillors.
Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) instead referred the matter to a task group and the new guidance has now been approved.
Communities seeking a speed limit cut need to discuss it with a councillor, parish council or council highways team.
CWaC will undertake an initial assessment and make a decision on whether the change meets or partially meets government guidance and can be enforced by police.
There must be more than 50 per cent support – one signature per household – and the community must find 50 per cent funding if the change meets the criteria or 100 per cent if not. Funding could be provided by community groups, councillors or through section 106 agreements.
But some feel the new policy does not go far enough.
Cllr David Robinson, Labour spokesman for environment and community, said: “More and more authorities have been bringing in 20 mph default speed limits. The latest is Birmingham where they reckon the value of casualty reduction per year will be about £5 million.
“Apparently some 12 million people now live on streets with a 20 mph limit but only a few in Cheshire West and Chester.”
A pilot of the new scheme is currently taking place and there will be a public launch.
Cllr Pamela Hall said the new policy was in line with Department for Transport guidance and had support from the police.
She said it would allow communities to decide speed limits and bring changes about in a practical way.
There will be an online web based system, allowing communities to put forward their support or objection to a proposed change in speed limit. A sign would be built during the consultation period so all drivers using a particular road could take part.
Cllr Lynn Riley, executive member for localities, said she was “hugely supportive” of the new policy.
She said: “This is not just a 20mph policy. It is a policy that gives every community with any concerns about speeds in their neighbourhood, the opportunity and the guidance and the where with all to do something about it.
“There are already many 20 mph schemes in Chester and all over the borough in response to what local communities have brought forward over time. This policy is building on that.”