There was heated discussion over proposals to install speed humps and a 20 mph speed limit along Leyes Lane in Kenilworth at a transport meeting today (Wednesday June 21) - but no final decision was made.
Warwickshire County Council wish to install five flat-topped speed bumps across the full width of the road, two ‘raised junctions’ with Keeling Road and Ilam Park, and a permanent 20 mph limit. It would cost around £85,000.
The aim would be to reduce accidents involving pupils at Kenilworth School. Five children have been injured in the last six years, far higher than any other school in the county.
Although everyone at the meeting agreed the 20 mph speed limit was a good idea, there was much debate over the rest of the plans with several interruptions, forcing chairman Cllr Jeff Clarke (Con, Nuneaton East) to intervene several times.
Some residents from nearby roads such as The Wardens attended the meeting, who claimed it was parents’ ‘abysmal’ parking and driving which was causing accidents, rather than drivers’ speed. Many said the parking meant no-one could get over 20 mph at peak times anyway.
They also said the likely relocation of the school as part of Warwick district’s Local Plan meant the decision should not go ahead.
One resident, Elaine Clarke, said: “I think it’s a waste of money. The issue is not speed, it’s parents’ parking.”
And Kenilworth town councillor Felicity Bunker (Con, Park Hill), who had previously described the scheme as ‘ludicrous’, claimed some of the reported accidents were ‘self-inflicted’, with some of the pupils ‘playing chicken’.
She added: “It’s a big school, and kids will be kids. There’s a member of staff outside Leyes Lane now which has stopped some of that.”
But former county councillor John Whitehouse, who chaired the school safety taskforce which looked at the safety of pupils coming in and out of schools all over the county, felt the council had to reduce speed.
He said: “Kenilworth School came out way and above other schools and was the most high-priority location.
“We’ve a duty of care to our young people, and we felt it was absolutely necessary.
“It isn’t just school times - although it’s short, some use the road as a small race track. I think the perception that it’s a problem just at school times is incorrect.”
Mr Whitehouse also said Leyes Lane would remain a road of concern for Kenilworth Community Speedwatch, which he leads, unless the scheme was implemented.
After many had given their thoughts, newly-elected county councillor John Cooke (Con, Lapworth and West Kenilworth), told Cllr Clarke he had a very difficult decision to make, and admitted if he lived near Leyes Lane he would not want the speed humps.
A decision is expected to be made within seven to 10 days.