Langton Matravers is all set to become the first village in Dorset to have a 20 miles an hour speed limit imposed through its high street after a long running campaign by residents.
Five town and villages in the county had their applications to reduce speed limits to 20mph approved on Wednesday 24th May 2023 and plans will now be assessed for funding, with Langton thought to be at the top of the list.
Parish councillor Ian Vaughan Arbuckle welcomed the slow zone decision
“It will improve the quality of life”
Langton Matravers parish councillor Ian Vaughan Arbuckle said:
“We are delighted to have cleared the first and probably the most difficult hurdle in our quest to get a 20mph limit through the centre of the village, which is something residents have wanted for many years.
“Originally Dorset Council said that the village wasn’t eligible because it was a strategic road, but we gathered evidence from residents that they supported the idea and used speed watch teams to prove that there was a need for a lower limit.
“The presence of speed watch teams in the village have actually been successful in slowing down average speeds, as word gets around pretty quickly when there are speed guns around.
“But the new enforceable limit will undoubtedly improve the quality of life for residents and make the centre of the village a far safer place.”
A 20 mile an hour zone will be implemented through Langton Matravers
£75,000 budget to fund the slow zones
Dorset Council has a budget of £75,000 in the next year to implement the new community speed restrictions, with each village expected to cost between £5,000 and £10,000 – or more, if calming measures like speed bumps or narrowed roads are needed.
Eight applications have been made for a 20mph zone since Dorset Council adopted the new policy in November 2022, and Langton Matravers is believed to be one of the two with highest priority for funding alongside Bridport town centre.
Schemes must offer the maximum benefit for the affected communities, including quality of life, healthier lifestyles, sustainability and environmental benefits, as well as reducing the risk of accidents.
Wimborne town centre, Winfrith Newburgh and Pimperne are the other three successful areas, with applications from Poundbury, Fontmell Magna and Fifehead Magdalen being postponed or turned down.
Another four villages have applied since March 1st 2023 and will be considered later in the year, while publicity for the scheme has brought forward another 38 areas expressing an interest in lower speed limits.
A speed watch team in Langton Matravers helped gather evidence for the lower limit
Limiting speeds where people walk, live and play
Councillor Ray Bryan, Dorset Council portfolio holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said:
“This initiative is in response to community concerns about road safety and healthy areas in towns and villages.
“We are committed to working with local towns and parishes to promote road safety. Limiting speeds to 20mph where people walk, live and play is one way people can benefit from streets that are healthier and safer.
“The process does not seek to set a 20mph limit as the default for all roads where people and vehicle traffic mix, but it takes a consistent approach to dealing with applications.
“Our policy is that schemes must take national guidance into consideration, be affordable, place minimum strain on council budgets and be enforceable by the police.”
A busy through road and narrow pavements cause danger for villagers
Significant support for 20mph limit
Existing speeds are also taken into account, and there should be significant community support for a 20mph limit or zone.
Residents interested in the implementation of new 20mph speed limits in their own local area should contact their town or parish council or their local Dorset councillor.
The five successful applications will be assessed for funding over summer before going through a formal traffic regulation order public consultation where residents can give their comments in support of, or object to, the proposals.
Each application is assessed against a set of requirements, and Dorset Council will fund those schemes deemed to be a high priority. Town and parish councils will have the opportunity to self-fund lower priority schemes.
Dorset Council’s 20mph policy is set out on its website