Proposals for a 20mph speed limit across Newton Abbot have been withdrawn after the majority of people who responded to a public consultation said that they did not support it.
However the consultation, which attracted 1,489 responses, also showed that there was overwhelming support for 20mph limits outside the town’s schools, nurseries, and pre-schools.
Devon County Council will now consider what can be delivered for the community to support reduced speeds at these locations. Any new scheme will be subject to the normal legal consultation process.
The consultation was available online and on paper and took place between October and November this year.
It followed Cabinet recommendations to investigate the viability of a community-wide scheme which included main roads and residential areas.
The consultation asked those who work and live in the town 25 questions and invited people to add their ideas and comments to an interactive map depicting the proposed extent of the scheme.
The question asking if people supported 20mph limits outside schools, nurseries, and pre-schools was supported by 77 per cent of respondents – the highest level of support out of any question in the consultation.
The consultation also asked if residents supported a 20mph limit on residential roads – 46 per cent were in favour and 54 per cent were against.
Another question invited people to give their views on 20mph speed limits on the town’s main roads – 21 per cent supported this, while 79 per cent were opposed.
Of those that responded to the consultation, 84 per cent live or work in Newton Abbot and nine out of ten live or work in Teignbridge.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management said:
“We said, from the outset, that this scheme would be shaped by those who live and work in Newton Abbot and its delivery depended on their support. We have asked the residents and we have listened to what they have told us; the majority do not want a community wide scheme.
“However, it is also clear that a large majority of people continue to have concerns about vehicle speeds outside schools and nurseries and now we will now consider what we can deliver to reflect this. We hope to be able to present our initial ideas early next year.
“It’s important to say the result of this consultation does not preclude schemes in other areas if that is what people want. We are committed to moving ahead with schemes in the coming year as discussed at Cabinet on December 8. We have received many requests for 20mph speed limits and we will be prioritising the communities that would benefit the most from lower vehicle speeds.”
Councillor Phil Bullivant, County Councillor for Newton Abbot North, said:
“The conclusion from public consultation carried out by Devon County Council has enabled the proposals for reduced speed limits in Newton Abbot to be focussed towards improving safety around our schools rather than on a town wide scheme.
“Listening to the voice of the public and delivering a solution that they support was a promise made by the Devon team looking at this initiative and will now be the way forward for Newton Abbot.
“The recommendations are in in line with those suggested by Royal society for the Prevention of Accidents and have my full support.”
Councillor Janet Bradford, County Councillor for Newton Abbot South, said:
“‘NewtonSaysNo’ to a blanket 20mph speed limit and it has subsequently been withdrawn. Devon County Council has listened to the voice of the people. The people who responded to the survey also wanted 20mph outside of schools, nurseries and pre-schools and DCC will be looking at this in 2022. Councils must listen to the people who elected them.”
Councillor Mike Joyce, Mayor of Newton Abbot, said:
“The results of the public consultation could not be any clearer, residents of Newton Abbot would welcome speed reductions in parts of the town but not a blanket 20mph limit.
“From the various consultations that have taken place over the last six months, I am confident that the wishes expressed will be respected by the highways authority.
“I must stress that while the people of my town have had their say, this should in no way be seen as a model for other communities.
“Local conditions must always be considered when determining the best way to deliver safer roads and lower vehicle emissions.
“I thank everyone who took part in this exercise and look forward to seeing how the results of the consultation will translate into action in the coming months.”