Calls for rethink of 20mph zone plans

A DECISION to introduce a 20mph zone in west York in a bid to put the brakes on speeding motorists has been called in for a rethink amid claims the move does not have public support.

Members of York Council’s corporate and scrutiny management committee will meet next week to decide whether to back a decision by its cabinet or demand senior councillors look at the issue again. Cabinet’s decision to set up a social enterprise to run the city’s libraries will also be scrutinised by committee members.

Liberal Democrat councillors Ann Reid, Lynn Jeffries and Nigel Ayre are calling for both decisions to be reversed.

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Their submission claims the 20mph proposal does not have widespread support: “This policy does not enjoy public support – the report confirms that out of 13,000 residents consulted only seven responded in favour. This is abysmally low for a project that will cost £600,000 of taxpayers’ money in total,” a report to the committee which meets on Monday says.

The council has said introducing 20mph limits in residential areas aims to help promote considerate driving and encourage more people to walk and cycle. It has also said local head teachers support the move.

Coun Dave Merrett, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, earlier said: “The introduction of lower speed limits, in accordance with the latest Government guidance, reduces speeds, giving drivers more time to react to the presence of other road users and reducing the likelihood and scale of any potential remaining accidents.”

Cabinet members have already backed proposals for a community benefit society to operate the city’s libraries and archives from next April. Council bosses argue the move will help safeguard the future of the service in the face of budget cuts, but fears have been raised it could increase the risk of future library closures and reduced opening hours.