19 FEB 2015

Win for campaigners on Rural Speeding

Campaigners say they've won a new deal from the police to crack down on speeding through rural villages in the Weald after a speed summit with Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner.

The meeting set up by Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant and Cranbrook County Councillor, Seán Holden, brought representatives from all around the Weald to lobby the Police Commissioner, Ann Barnes at Police, HQ in Maidstone.

"We got a good response from the police which I hope will see closer links to deal with speeding with our rural communities in future." Mrs Grant said, "After hearing the worries of people from our villages they agreed to my suggestion of setting up a working group with them, to include elected representatives and residents to make sure this serious and dangerous speeding problem does not get overlooked anymore."

Parish council leaders said they were optimistic that their worries were being taken more seriously after the meeting and looked forward to better cooperation with the police.

"We sometimes felt they had abandoned enforcing the law," said Cllr Ann Holroyd, chairman of Frittenden Parish Council. "Speeding is a menace here but nobody seemed to hear us saying so. Now, I hope we will be taken more seriously with this working group and a follow up meeting in the summer".

"We do feel something is now happening with the working party and a future full progress meeting in the summer," said frontline campaigner Penny Ansell from Hawkhurst, who is part of the volunteer roadside monitoring campaign, Speedwatch.

The new deal has the potential to go county wide, according to County Cllr Seán Holden who, with Mrs Grant pressed the Police Commissioner for the meeting. "Cutting speeding is about the safety and the quality of people's lives in the countryside communities. They were feeling ignored. I hope this is the beginning of a change in that feeling."

Mrs Grant added, "This is a very important campaign to keep pushing forward. It is always one of the top concerns of my rural constituents."

Parish and borough councillors and Speedwatch volunteers from Benenden, Cranbrook, Frittenden, Hawkhurst, Langley, Sandhurst, Sissinghurst, and Teston pressed the Police Commissioner about their concerns. They said they were pleased with the positive reaction of the police.

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