He’s Behind You …

Extraordinary scenes at what should have been a perfectly normal HATOC (Highways and Traffic Orders Committee) meeting yesterday.

HATOC is a Devon County Council committee and includes three EDDC councillors. It’s normally a business-like, ‘let’s get it done’ kind of committee with nothing particularly contentious on the agenda.

Yesterday we had an update from South West Highways on potholes and top dressing of roads following the winter storms last year.

Then, an agenda item for traffic calming measures in West Hill was up for discussion. This has been on the cards for literally years and it is proposed to be funded by the Government’s Safer Routes to School scheme.

No, nothing contentious there then.

Except that the ward member is Independent Councillor, Claire Wright, PPC for East Devon in the forthcoming general election.

One by one, the Conservative members of the committee raised concerns about the type of traffic calming measures proposed. The officer, looking somewhat bemused, explained why these were the ideal measures for the location.

Cllr Wright explained that this was a much needed scheme, had gone through extensive consultation and there had been very little opposition.

But the Conservative councillors each argued one after the other that when you drove over these speed bumps it hurt your back, they would be invisible to cyclists at night, and they would cause a noise nuisance to residents nearby.

Supporting the proposal, Cllr Wragg (LibDem) pointed out that in that case, all speed bumps should be removed across the whole of Devon.

It was an extraordinary piece of theatre … or rather pantomime … all set up in advance to ensure that Cllr Wright could not add the installation of traffic-calming measures for the safety of children in West Hill to the long list of her many achievements.

It was a shameful exercise in pathetic party political bickering.

We are constantly told that the Conservatives do not operate under the Party Whip system, but antics such as those witnessed yesterday put a lie to that assertion.

So what was the result of this pantomime … these theatrical shenanigans of which a local amateur dramatic group would have been ashamed?

The bemused officer was despatched to do more research into speeding in West Hill and asked to bring a report to the next HATOC meeting in July … after the impending general election.

It’s time for change.

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11 Responses to He’s Behind You …

  1. Paul F says:

    So, traffic calming measures that could stop a child being hurt in an accident whilst on the way to or from school have been delayed by Tory councillors making cheap jibes at Claire Wright because she now has a real decent chance of knocking current MP Hugo Swire off his throne.

    Pathetic antics that I would normally associate with immature public schoolboys!!!

    I do hope that, if there is an unfortunate accident and a child is hurt because of these delays, that the West Hill community put the responsibility firmly where it belongs, with the Conservative councillors who yet again (and for the stupidest of reasons) put Party Politics before the interests of their electorate.

  2. Paul F says:

    P.S. Is there a video or audio recording of this meeting so we can all hear just how stupid and pathetic these Conservative Councillors really are?

  3. Sue Collins says:

    We I think the conservatives are all in the old boys brigade, they are obviously running scared that Claire will be elected and are trying bullying boy tactis. Shame on them. This has gone through all the correct channels, and there should be speed humps by all schools. Let’s hope nobody is hurt or killed whilst this stupid delay occurs.
    Yes susie I agree it is time for a change.

  4. Pingback: Tory dirty tricks? | East Devon Watch

  5. R Thurlow says:

    Who are the Tory Councillors who acted in this way? We should out them publicly

  6. Eileen Wragg says:

    No vote was taken of those against or any abstentions. Not all Cllrs used their microphones by any means. This was clearly (to me) a politically motivated decision, so that Claire would not be able to put it in her election literature.

  7. James W says:

    Thing is, speed bumps are dangerous. They damage car tires, particularly on the inner walls which is not visible to drivers inspecting them as usually we only see the outer walls, they wear down and break up which causes dangers to cyclists and other road users, they are noisy and cause vibrations particularly for people living next to them, they prematurely wear down car suspension, and they slow down emergency vehicles on a blue light call, not to mention cause more injury for patients in an ambulance with potential spinal injuries.

    Add to this the fact that school children are usually only near the road between 8:30 and 9am and then 15:00 – 15:30 yet the speed bumps are there constantly, even in the school holidays when the doors are locked. Plus look at the parents on the mornings when the schools are in, many park on the zig zag lines anyway and have little respect for other children, except their own.

    Speed bumps are not the answer. They dont even slow down the vehicles that can cause the most damage, i.e. vans, lorries, buses!!! If you want people to slow down outside schools, have signs which light up with a 20mph speed limit when the schools are going in or coming out – they have been installed elsewhere and they work. Drivers have more respect for this sort of thing. Enforce this with random mobile speed checks, a policeman on a bike with a radar gun, or a mobile speed van. Ensure the road surface is decent with a good anti skid surface and that there is a good crossing for the children. Finally, enforce parking rules on the road outside for the parents dropping their little darlings off and picking them up.

    • Paul F says:

      All these are valid points for debate.

      Unfortunately, the Tory councillors concerned did not want to have a sensible debate, just to derail a safety measure for school children. Shame on them.

    • Peter says:

      I agree that speed bumps can be a nuisance sadly this wasn’t about that, merely politics.
      The East Devon tories doing every thing that they can to get Claire Wright elected to Westminster by accident. Hugo must be seriously unimpressed with them

  8. Sandra Semple says:

    If speed bumps are so dangerous why did the Tory councillors wait until EXACTLY this meeting to put up their objections. They have been passing them for dacades and then suddenly they ALL change their minds on the same day at the same time. No, John W it just doesn’t wash, but nice try!

  9. James W says:

    Not quite sure who John is…….

    Anyway, I was just making a point from a road safety point of view as I used to be involved in a road safety group. For me personally, I couldn’t give two hoots about politics, they are all as bad as each other at the moment and my contribution wasn’t in any way linked to any politics!

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