Posted by: tonytomkinson | September 1, 2008

Toft Monks and speed restrictions

It seems a peculiar thing to begin a Blog about Toft Monk’s traffic problems by congratulating Thurton on the improvements carried out in their village to the A146. But these improvements are good, their County Councillor has been much more successful than I have been, in achieving, a wider road near to the bus stop, a speed restriction to 40mph, a new quieter tarmac surface to reduce traffic noise for local residents, lane seperation lines picked out in red.

Toft Monks has similar problems to Thurton and in some cases the situation is worse in Toft Monks and like Thurton these issues must be addressed.

1.  The general limit through the village on the A143 is 50mph, in Thurton it is 40 but Thurton does not have nearly as many houses fronting the road. Toft Monks has some 20 houses with their exterior walls within 5 meters of the carriage way.

2.  The pub in Thurton is about 30yds from the A146 in Toft the outside wall is right on the foot-way, heavy lorries are a real noise creator for the guests.

3.  The speed limit through the village is “National Speed Limit” in this case 60mph. This is crazy to come off a road where the limit is 50 to enter the village where you can increase to 60.

4.  There is no sound redeuction coating on the A143 but all of the houses are much closer to the traffic.

The purpose of this Blog is twofold, one, to provide a platform for residents and other interested parties to comment on the current position and so form the basis of a petition, and two, to invite The County Council Cabinet Member to accompany me together with the Parish Council Chairperson on a site visit.

I will also be advising the Planning and Transportation Director and other officers of the existence of these comments.

Please use this Blog to support the request for improvements similar to those in Thurton.

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Responses

  1. I totally agree with Tony’s comments on this matter. The houses along the A143 are blighted by the traffic thundering by. One, at least, was damaged in an accident when a car went off the road and into the house. All of them suffer from the vibrations.
    To walk along the footpath by the road is to take your life in your hands. The footpath is narrow and the hedge is often in a state where it pushes pedestrians to the road edge. When a heavy vehicle passes the drag is almost enough to pull you into the road in front of following traffic. If two lorries going in opposite directions pass they are forced right to the kerb as the carriageway is barely wide enough for them. Imagine being a young parent pushing a buggy and walking a child to the school!!
    Which is another thing – the school is on the boundary of Toft Monks and Haddiscoe and is on a blind bend. The only access is from the A143 and it gets very busy at school times. Whose child has to die before anything is done here? There should be a 20mph National limit outswide ALL schools.
    We also have to think about Gt Yarmouth’s new outer harbour: if this is a successful venture we will have increased heavy goods movements along the road.
    Then, of course, we have the possibility of sand and gravel extraction at Haddiscoe and at Fritton – yet another increase in the volume of traffic!
    The side roads bearing the majority of the dwellings in the parish are single track without footways, but having turned off the A143 at a limit of 50mph drivers can then INCREASE their speed to 60mph!!
    Together with Haddiscoe we have been fighting this for 20 years or more but have been stonewalled all along the way by Norfolk County Council who have made excuses, contradicted themselves, prevaricated and procrastinated.
    Reduced speed limits will do something to alleviate the situation but they will not widen the road. This is impossible through the village without demolishing some buildings. What we really need is a bypass. Some years ago Freddie Fokkleman researched this idea and found a route from the Stockton roundabout to Haddiscoe bridge that followed a natural line – I believe it may have been the old railway line. This route across farmland would be much easier to widen if the need arose.

  2. Thank you Linda, I would like to hear the views of some of the other Parish Councillors and more residents of the village as well. Perhaps the Landlord of the pub would like to comment. He has a lot to put up with.
    I think the by-pas is very unlikely in the forseeable future, if we do get one it would be well past my sell by date. But, something has to be done to enforce the speed restrictions when we get them!

    Tony

  3. Thank-you for raising the valid points about speed restrictions, which is a great concern,but as a parent with two children Lindas points about the pathways leading from Haddiscoe and Toft Monks to Glebeland primary school are DEATHTRAPS.
    We live one mile away from the school at Toftmonks and would dearly love to cycle or walk to school reguarly, but dare not because of the risk of serious accident or DEATH, because of the inadequate footpaths and the poor and infrequent maintenance alongside them. We do so very occasionally as a treat when this should be the norm.The government and council keep telling us to lead healthier lifestyles and to keep pollution down, so how about a little help here please, and I am sure several families would take the healthy and enviromentally friendly option of walking or cycling to school in safer circumstances.

    Warren Bond.

  4. Although I don’t live at Toft Monks or Hadiscoe, I do have 2 children who attend Glebeland School and therefore am concerned at the lack of a realistic speed limit in that area.
    Anywhere else I travel to at every village there is a 30 limit but not at Toft Monks, why? It is idiotic to tear through the village near the pub and past the school at 50.
    And as mentioned previously if the Yarmouth harbour gets going and the new pit gets the go ahead then the traffic is only going to get worse.
    Also another thing to consider is way back in about 1980 when the county council held a meeting to decide which of Aldeby, Wheatacre or Toft schools were going to stay open and which were to close, the councillors there assured all of us present that road safety would be a priority and on the same score Aldeby was not suitable as it was right on a dangerous bend!!
    I would suggest you dig up the minutes of that meeting Tony, it was at the Bugh St Peter village hall.

    Thank you Paul, I will do as you suggest and see what was said then. One thing is certain and that is that there will be much more traffic and faster traffic now than there was in 1980. Getting hold of minutes nearly thirty years old might be difficult, but I’ll try. I will also ask for traffic speed and number monitors to be put down, to see the current position.

    Yours, Tony

  5. It is absolutely rediculous that the speed limit outside Glebeland School is set so high at 50mph. I was driving through Loddon only yesterday, and the limit through there has been reduced to 20mph, and that’s not even near the school !!
    I sincerely hope to god that it is NOT going to take a fatality for the limit to be lowered outside Glebeland, I and many others have almost been in an accident at the school junction, it is scarey to think that one day someone will be hurt before anything is done. We need the backup and help from everyone who travels along the A143 to support this issue.

    Lisa Clarke

  6. The A143 continues to concern me. I work at Glebeland School and am still horrified that there is no intention to even consider reducing the speed limit through Toft Monks. We recently conducted a travel plan survey of parents – the common theme in the additional comments is the speed limit along the road. I will be pleased to share these comments with you Tony. Please keep up the pressure to reduce the limit outside school and through the village centre.

  7. I continue to have difficulties convincing Planning and Transportation that there is a serious problem at Toft Monks, through the village on the A143 and past the school. I have written to Adrian Gunson Cabinet Member and invited him to join me in Toft Monks. I am publishing his response below:-

    “Your comments regarding the side road speed limits are noted and understood. As detailed in my previous email this will be considered as part of the 09/10 Traffic Management Programme.

    I note your request for me to go on a tour of Toft Monks and Glebelands School site, but I am fully aware of the issues in Toft Monks and have looked at them personally. I have to say that I am very impressed by the depth in which the officers have looked at these issues and I would not want to override them. I know the village as I say, and I have challenged every step of the officers arguments on the questions you raise.

    Turning to the school speed limit, this was investigated fully in the past two years and if you have not got details of this, the department can let you have them. Unfortunately due to a number of factors including the lack of built up frontage a reduction in the level of speed limit was not feasible nor would it have received a good level of driver compliance. However, we did provide two vehicle activated signs specific to the school which have increased the level of road safety benefit to the location.

    Our records show daily flows at Thurton of 12,620 vehicles when the current 40mph speed limit was implemented in 1998. Although I should add that the vehicle flow, whilst of pertinence to a speed limit is not one of the main component factors considered as a leading criteria in speed limit assessment. The main criteria relate to the level of frontage development adjacent to the road in question, road junctions and other causes of turning movements, observed vehicle speeds, personal injury accidents and road type/geometry.

    I know you won’t agree with the comments in this email, but I am satisfied the points you raise have been given very thorough attention by officers and I have no reason to think Toft Monks has been treated unfairly or inconsistently compared with other villages on speed management”.

    I will continue to press for speed restriction measures to be put in place and welcome comment from residents. Tony

  8. Having read Cllr Gunson’s response I am extremely disappointed by it. His answer, if such a vague and empty response could be described as an answer, has not addressed the points of the residents and ignores the very real dangers of this road.

    I would ask Mr Gunson to spell out plainly why he refuses this request, not try and fob people off with ‘officer speak’ and vagaries.

    The children and parents at the school deserve better from the County Council and so do the people off Toft Monks.

  9. I am pleased to report that my persistance has a small result. There is to be a site meeting (date to be agreed with Chris Alston). At this stage I would not like it to be a meeting of the full Parish Council, but perhaps Linda (Chairperson) would like to join us. I will then try to get Chris to attend a PC meeting to cover all the points with them.

  10. An alternative approach to tackle the issue would be for Norfolk County Council to adopt a policy that no school in Norfolk should have a speed limit in excess of 20 miles per hour outside the main entrance. I am sure such a policy would be applauded by constituents across the county who would see such a policy as a sensible and safe step and demonstrate a commitment to putting children first. So, instead of planning and transportation department or the minister being seen as the villian of the piece the County Council can take a positive and direct initiative. Children’s Services and the Education Department should be asked to provide a view on such a proposal to counter the reservations that seem to be coming from the Transportation Department

    It would be interesting to know how many schools in the county have speed limits of 40 or more miles per hour outside the main entrance.

    • Thank you Peter for your comment. I have asked Planning and Transportation to provide me with information giving datails of all Primary Schools situated on A class roads and the speed limit applicable at their location. The officer who will provide this information for me is about to go on holiday, she has promised to do the work as soon as she is back on the 22 February, watch this Blog for more information then.
      Tony

  11. Tony – I live at Boundary Farm, postcode NR340EF, so called because it straddles the Gillingham / Toft monks parish boundary. We have been here 8 years and seen several nasty accidents on the A143 directly outside our house, which suffers from a blind summit and is “national speed limit”. The aforementioned bikers gather at MacDonalds then race off up the A143 at lunatic speeds – noisy and dangerous – while some car drivers think its a great overtaking place despite the blind bends.

    Tragically, the most recent accident on Sunday 21st March was a bike / car collision and resulted in two deaths. I came to the scene early on and remain shaken.

    Clearly we need a 50 mph limit and double white lines on this dangerous stretch; and the now-redundant layby immediately adjacent our house would be a good place to site a safety camera. I ahve today written to the THINK Norfolk website and received a reply from Norfolk CC (Ian Temperton) suggesting I contact local councillors to press for these life-saving measures to be enacted.

    Can you help?

    Doug

    Thank you Doug, the collission was really nasty, any loss of life needs to be throughly investigated. I would like to see the Safety Report on this collission before starting to appeal for another speed limit. So far as I understand at present, the driver of the car who was killed struck another car, left to road and lost control. He regained the carriage way still out of control and was hit by the motor cycle. We need to know what speeds all of the vehicles were doing.

    Other residents may have views which I would be pleased to hear, the earlier campaign has succeeded to get a reduced limit at the other end of the village, if there is strong feelings residents can use this Blog get their comments heard.

    Yours, Tony


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