Road calming in Kenilworth: Warwickshire County Council is 'considering its position' on the proposals

Many residents have objected to the plans to install permanent road calming measures in Warwick Road on grounds of traffic being displaced into residential roads where it will cause greater risk to the public and increase air pollution

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 6:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th May 2021, 6:16 pm
Warwick Road in Kenilworth. Image courtesy of Google Maps.

Warwickshire County Council is 'considering' its position on plans to install permanent road calming measures in the main road through Kenilworth town centre.

The plans have caused much controversy with many residents objecting on grounds that the proposed measures and 20mph speed limit in Warwick Road will cause motorists to use routes around the road and through residential streets, increasing the risk to public safety and levels of air pollution in these areas.

But the council is now set to make a decision on the plans which could lead to them being either shelved, reconsidered or scrapped.

A council spokesman said: "The consultation regarding the proposed traffic calming is now closed and based on objections raised, scheme benefits, and funding required to complete the scheme, the council is currently considering its position and is preparing a briefing note for the portfolio holder as to whether the scheme should continue.

"In view of the recent elections, the council' cabinet and associated portfolio holders will be ratified at the council meeting on Tuesday (May 25) immediately after which a briefing note will be presented and once agreed we will be able to share the content with residents and stakeholders."

Members of the Residents of Central Kenilworth (ROCK) group have said that no residents who have contacted them are in favour of the proposals and that they have received more correspondence on these plans than any others since the group formed in 2004.

The group chairman Richard Palmi and vice chairman Andy Garsed have made a joint statement to highlight the concerns of residents.

They have said: "Residents are very concerned that a considerable amount of traffic will be displaced from the Warwick Road onto surrounding residential roads both East and West of Warwick Road.

"Detailed modelling on the impact on specific roads does not appear to have been conducted and so residents in Waverley and Priory Road, are particularly worried.

Notwithstanding they are designated A roads, they are quite narrow, with little off street parking and the potential for two HGV vehicles to pass safely is very limited.

"The junction at the top of Priory Rd/ Abbey Hill is dangerous and residents are aware of frequent accidents. If HGVs take this route travelling North will they continue on the A road ( now the one way and narrow Fieldgate Lane) or will they turn left up High Street and try and negotiate narrow Castle Hill?

"HGVs cannot easily turn left at the top of Priory Road because of the existing pedestrian refuge.

"Where there is off street parking in Waverley and Priory Roads it is difficult to manoeuvre vehicles in and out of driveways. Elderly residents of Waverley Road have particularly complained that it will become even more difficult to walk across this road to go into town.

"The existing average speed for traffic in Warwick Road is well below 20mph at the moment but much higher than this on surrounding residential roads.

"There is concern that displaced traffic will only add to known speeding issues on centre of town residential roads, Kenilworth Community Speedwatch can confirm.

"Residents are concerned that air quality could deteriorate significantly along Warwick Road after speed humps and tablets have been installed.

"A combination of acceleration and braking of vehicles is likely to increase pollution in an area where emissions are already close to exceeding current legal limits.

"We understand that adding new calming goes against the current national trend, where it is being reduced, as a result of pollution. Displaced traffic will lead to extra pollution in residential areas.

"A significant number of residents do not believe that the proposed speed humps and tablets will lead to improved safety or a potential fall in the level of accidents. We are trying to encourage cycling and speed bumps do not help cyclists

."Have the needs of the visually impaired been considered with these proposals?"

Residents have put forward their own proposals including a 20mph zone to encompass the town centre, which would include Abbey Hill, Southbank Road, Station Road, Bertie Road, Waverley and Priory Roads plus known 'rat runs' on the west of Warwick Road around Brookside, Siddeley and St Nicholas Avenues and Mortimer Road - roads which contain primary schools, nurseries, doctors surgeries, elderly persons facilities and homes, plus shops close by.

They have also suggested installing average speed cameras at the top and bottom of Warwick Road instead of speed humps, reducing the dwell time on existing traffic lights and pedestrian crossings, altering the layout of the Sainsbury's traffic lights to make them less confusing for motorists and installing traffic lights at the Station Road and Warwick Road junction, which would allow the right turn to be reinstated.