Work to get a 20 miles per hour zone introduced in a Pennine market town has been going on for around three years with so little progress councillors have now been in contact with the local authority’s chief executive about the way its highways department operates.
Penistone town centre has been the focus of road safety worries for years and councillors started to act on suggestions that a 20mph zone instead of the existing 30mph limit would improve conditions for pedestrians around three years ago, but no positive action has happened since, despite work by borough councillors who represent the area.
Now it has emerged some have been in contact with Barnsley Council’s chief executive, Diana Terris, and it appears a reshuffle of how the department operates may be about to happen, to allow a better response to potential highways schemes suggested by councillors.
Coun Paul Hand-Davis, who represents the Penistone East ward, told Penistone Town Council: “I have spoken to the chief executive about highways and the lack of response when we put requests in. It is something she is going to look at.”
Coun Andrew Millner, who represents the Penistone West ward which includes the town centre added: “It must be three years ago that we started chasing a 20mph zone.
“Highways have shared some documents with us. There is quite a lot of cost associated with two potential schemes and they need to set it into the budget and decide whether they can afford it.
“It is down to funding. We are hoping that there will be some re-organisation so we may see a more proactive stance from the highways team, to respond to suggestions from ward councillors.”
There is one pelican crossing in the town centre but several years ago when a small one-way system was introduced, another pedestrian crossing was offered as part of the package.
That never materialised, however, with the presence of large numbers of underground cables at the intended installation site being blamed for making it impossible.
The result has been an impasse, with residents and councillors warning of large numbers of ‘near misses’ between pedestrians and vehicles as well as some actual collisions and a fear that those of advanced age are most vulnerable.
It has now been suggested that a 20mph zone would be useful if it extended beyond the Market Street and High Street areas of the town centre, to cover the road close to St John’s primary school a short distance away.