Saturday, October 18, 2008

Quick off the mark

Labour in Coleridge are always quick off the mark to get their pictures in the paper. For example, here, they are calling for more money to be made available for speed cameras of a type that can be operated by residents.

This refers to a new scheme from the County Council whereby local residents operate speed cameras in conjunction with the police - I think the way it works is those exceeding the speed limit are sent warning letters. A small number of cameras are being made available Countywide for pilot schemes - Labour wants much larger funding committed even before we know if the scheme is going to work.

I think it could be a good idea - a questionnaire on our ward-wide July newsletter asked if any local residents would like to get involved. I can't say I was overwhelmed with volunteers, which to say the least is a problem. Councillors can doubtless be more persistent in persuading people to take part, but ultimately can't (and indeed shouldn't) force them.

(UPDATE: Having spoken to a fair few people on Coleridge Road over the weekend, I think it is fair to say there wouldn't be a problem finding residents to get behind this scheme...)

But the interesting thing about Labour's latest press efforts is the claim: "Cllr Lewis Herbert, who leads the opposition group, and his colleague Cllr Miriam Lynn voted during last week's East Area Committee meeting to give cameras to residents in their wards of Coleridge and Abbey in a bid to combat speeding." which must have come from Labour. Trouble is, I checked the meeting minutes and they did nothing of the sort.

Although funding for cameras was discussed, the only relevant vote I can think they are referring to is actually a vote on an amendment proposed by me to make tackling speeding a local policing priority (in additional to other priorities such as anti-social behaviour in various troublespots etc.) Speeding is a serious problem on many roads in Coleridge (and indeed some roads in Abbey and other wards), but the police really don't seem to take the problem seriously, so I want to make it one of their priorities. Maybe then they will look into why it is some people are prepared to drive often through their own neighbourhood at recklessly fast speeds, and do something about it. Trouble is, one of the Labour City Councillors for Coleridge was absent from the meeting (as was the Coleridge County Councillor), and other Labour members of the committee (who are in the majority) refused to back my amendment, so for the second time running, it wasn't passed.

Speeding is a serious problem in the ward - if my fellow Coleridge Councillors really want to see some action on speeding, perhaps rather than speaking to the press, they could have a word with their colleagues in Petersfield and the like, and make sure they all support my call to make tackling this a police priority in the area.

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