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Draft Minutes of the Meeting of the Traffic Calming Committee held on

Tuesday 24 November 2015 at 6.30pm in the Village Hall

 

PRESENT: Cllr D Millington (in the Chair), Cllrs D Sim, G Gilmour, J Mellor, Mr J Wylie,

Ms T Armstrong, Ms L Rodgers, Ms J Tyson, Ms H Monaghan, Ms D Mills,

Ms C Williams, Mr P Hughes, Mr D Ford

 

In attendance: Mr K Cosgrove, Cumbria Highways

Cllr H Wormstrup, County Councillor Egremont North/St Bees

Mr H Rooms & Mr K Gibson, Sellafield Ltd

PC S Burgess, Cumbria Constabulary

 

T 01/15 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Mr J Kennedy and Cllr F Kennedy.

 

T 02/15 MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING

It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting on 2 April 2015 be approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman

 

T 03/15 SELLAFIELD TRANSPORT & MOVEMENT PLAN

The Chairman invited Mr Gibson to explain Sellafield Ltd’s approach to managing traffic issues.

Mr Gibson explained that over recent months there had been emphasis on reducing the number of heavy vehicles entering the site by developing warehouse facilities elsewhere. The company was aware of the impact of traffic on local communities and was developing an overarching plan to take account of traffic and transport issues associated with all planned developments over the coming years.

There are currently 12-13,000 employees on the site with approx. 5,000 starting work at the same time each morning. There were two ways in which the impact on local roads could be reduced – by smoothing the flow of traffic over a longer period or by reducing the total number of vehicles. A new car sharing initiative was being promoted but it was too soon to evaluate its impact. Discussions were taking place with Northern Rail about ways of increasing numbers travelling in/out by rail. A staff survey had been carried out to look at the barriers to staff using public transport and the key issues identified were reliability and frequency of services. The new plan would focus on promotion of public transport and cycling as ways of reducing total traffic numbers but persuading drivers to leave their cars at home presented a real challenge. Some further relocation of staff off the main site was being considered but in some cases this simply moved the traffic problem elsewhere.

It was pointed out by members of the committee that there needed to be co-ordination on traffic issues with Nu-Gen and those involved with other large projects in the area and that this could lead to significant economic benefits for the companies concerned. Mr Gibson said that there was regular liaison between Sellafield Ltd, Nu-Gen and the Highways Authority through the Nuclear Transport Group but there was no overall masterplan.

The new Sellafield plan was likely to be completed early in 2016 and Mr Rooms promised that a copy would be provided to the Parish Council when it was publicly available.

Members put forward a number of suggestions for reducing the impact on local villages:

  • Incentives for staff to use public transport
  • Conditions to be imposed in contracts with Sellafield Ltd to restrict contractors’ vehicles to the A595. Whilst this could be difficult to enforce, information could be made available from local Speed Watch data
  • Further consideration to a new road by-passing Egremont. Plans had been drawn up in the early 1960’s but had never been implemented. Mr Gibson stated that new roads were not planned but there were plans to look at specific ‘pinch points’.
  • Imposition of car park charges for staff at both Yottenfews and on site to deter the use of private cars.

 

 

958

The Chairman thanked Mr Gibson and Mr Rooms for their explanation of the company’s position on traffic issues and asked them to feedback the committee’s suggestions to Sellafield Ltd.

The following actions were agreed:

  • A letter to be sent to George Beveridge, Deputy Managing Director of Sellafield Ltd, supporting his statement that an overarching transport plan would be produced and setting out the committee’s views and suggestions for reducing traffic volumes

Action: DM

  • The Parish Council be asked to consider whether it wished to seek involvement in the Nuclear Transport Group as local communities were not currently represented on the group

Action: DM/DS

 

T 04/15 CONGESTION IN MAIN STREET

This issue was closely linked to the previous discussion on Sellafield traffic plans as the problems were most acute around 4pm in the afternoon when staff were travelling home from the Sellafield site. It was not uncommon for the traffic to reach a complete standstill as vehicles were unable to pass on the narrow sections. This caused considerable frustration and delays for residents and raised concerns that emergency vehicles would be unable to get through. The main problems were also at around the time when school children were leaving school and parents were very concerned about the risk of an accident.

Practical solutions were not easy to identify as it was not legally possible to ban Sellafield traffic from using the public highway. The issue might be alleviated by measures in the Sellafield Plan but the County Council would continue to work with local communities and the police to limit the impact as far as possible.

 

T 05/15 SPEED LIMITS

The Chairman noted that 20mph speed limits had recently been introduced in other villages and asked Mr Cosgrove to explain the background to the speed limit issues in St Bees.

Mr Cosgrove explained that some years ago a 20mph limit had been imposed in some parts of the village as a trial measure but it had been removed as it did not prove effective in reducing speeds. At that time restrictions on the use of 20mph limits were quite strict but recent guidance had relaxed these restrictions. In recent years Highways had worked closely with the parish council to tackle speed problems in specific areas such as Barony House and Fairladies. It was noted that physical restrictions were generally necessary to prevent traffic exceeding the limit but this was not always straightforward as rumble strips/humps can create a noise nuisance for nearby residents.

The Chairman asked whether a review of current speed limits in St Bees could be undertaken. Mr Cosgrove agreed that this could be done and he would come back to the Committee in due course with his recommendations for possible changes to speed limits in specific areas and for any engineered features which might be necessary to enforce the limits.

Action: Carry out a review of speed limits in different areas of St Bees and report back to the Committee on recommendations for changes and additional engineered features required (KC)

 

T 06/15 CCC TRAFFIC SURVEY

A summary of the results of the recent traffic survey were circulated. The mean speeds were not excessive in most areas but these were just averages. It was noted that there were large numbers of vehicles travelling over the limit at the south end of the village above Fairladies. Residents also commented on the speed at which large agricultural vehicles travelled through the narrow Main Street. Whilst it was not known if they were exceeding the 30mph limit, it was pointed out that the speeds were inappropriate for such large vehicles travelling through a congested built-up area.

PC Burgess explained that the police were aware of the issues of speeding, particularly at the southern entrance to the village, and had recently had officers in the village on a number of occasions enforcing the speed limit. Police resources were limited but they would continue to undertake speed enforcement activities whenever possible. The parish council’s Community Speedwatch volunteers were regularly monitoring traffic speeds and reporting speeding vehicles to the police.

 

 

 

 

959

 

T 07/15 REVIEW OF TRAFFIC CALMING MEASURES ALREADY IMPLEMENTED

It was noted that the chicane by Barony House had been effective in reducing speeds.

The island opposite the entrance to Fairladies gave the impression that the road was narrowing and had been effective to some extent but the recent traffic survey had indicated that many vehicles were still exceeding the limit at this point. Residents reported that it was difficult to pull out of properties on Egremont Rd because of the speed of vehicles entering the village. PC Burgess confirmed that the police were aware that this was a problem area. Mr Cosgrove believed that rumble strips would not be practical because of noise issues but gateway features were something which could be considered as part of the speed limit review.

Those present expressed differing views about the new pavement on Outrigg. It had increased safety for pedestrians, particularly children at the village school, which was the aim of the project. However, others felt that it had resulted in further congestion and parking issues.

Mr Cosgrove pointed out that there had been discussions between Highways, the Village School and Traffic Calming Committee about ways to improve the situation around the school entrances but options were very limited. However, he agreed to look again at the problems.

Action: Investigate options for improvements around the Village School entrances (KC)

 

T 08/15 OTHER ISSUES FROM LAST MEETING

  • The road markings at the new island opposite Fairladies had been completed.
  • The proposed extension of the double yellow lines around the Seacroft Drive and Nethertown Rd junctions was still outstanding

Action: Check the position with the TRO (KC)

  • The maintenance work on the B5345 had been carried out.
  • Highways staff had looked at the area around the junction of the B5345 with Abbey Road but it had not been possible to identify any measures which could address residents’ concerns.
  • There had been no progress with the suggestion of a bollard outside the quadrangle of St Bees School and the school was now closed.

 

T 09/15 CLOSING REMARKS

The Chairman and Cllr Sim thanked residents for their attendance which clearly demonstrated the importance of traffic issues to local people. It was hoped that everyone would be able to attend the next meeting to follow up progress with the issues discussed.

 

T 10/15 DATE & TIME OF NEXT MEETING

It was agreed that a further meeting would be called in spring 2016 when the review of speed limits was complete and recommendations were available