‘BITTERLY disappointed’ residents campaigning for anti-speeding action outside a village school are now being told they won’t see anything in place until the new term is underway.
Doncaster Road in Ardsley, a 40mph dual carriageway that runs alongside Oakhill Primary Academy, was set to receive flashing 20mph signs as part of a council pilot scheme.
The Chronicle was told in May there was a summer deadline, ahead of schoolchildren’s return.
But - with work yet to start - Barnsley Council has now said it’s unlikely to meet that target, due to staffing issues.
The signs are sorely needed, according to members of Speed Awareness Group Ardsley (SAGA), after a digital speed camera was burnt out last August and subsequently decommissioned. They come from a £90,000 pilot for areas potentially missed by collision data. Typically, areas flagged up as dangerous due to frequency or nature of collisions are dealt with on a ‘worst first’ basis.
But that doesn’t account for dangers posed to pedestrians and children on Doncaster Road - who now have little to protect them from careless motorists who can reach speeds of 70mph, said John Evans of SAGA.
“Yet again, after many months of expectation, the parents and children who attend the school, along with the residents of Stairfoot and Ardsley, will be bitterly disappointed, and are fed up with the postulating and broken promises that these signs will not be installed during the school summer holidays,” he said.
“Everything has been in place.
“It’s extreme disappointment, after the build-up and promises - staff shortages have never been mentioned.
“I’ve said before that it feels like Ardsley is the lost village of Barnsley, and it seems to be acceptable until the inevitable happens and someone gets killed or maimed.
“I would ask Coun Chris Lamb, if he has children or grandchildren, to come and cross the road at school time and experience the speeding traffic, and see if he feels safe.”
Traffic data is currently being analysed ahead of the signs’ installation.
The latest figures from the speed camera before it was destroyed show there were 81 offences last year and 91 in 2019, with only one collision within 200 metres of it between 2017 and 2019.
Residents have regularly campaigned for measures including flashing signs, average speed check cameras and more clear signage than small 40mph signs currently in place.
Instead, they have relied on parked cars to force would-be offenders to slow down, or the crossing guard at school time.
Stairfoot Coun Andrew Gillis believes average speed check cameras to be the most surefire way of stopping speeding, but said it’s important to ‘tie the council down’ on its promises.
“I’d rather them go in later than never, but I’m fed up of how long things take - it’s ridiculous,” said Coun Gillis.
“We ask for something, and then they hope it’s going to go away and we’ll forget about it. I haven’t.
“I’ve been on the phone all the time, probably annoying people.
“Nothing gets chased up. I’m not impressed with them taking the speed camera out - they could’ve left the box in and then nobody would take the chance.”
Coun Chris Lamb, cabinet spokesperson for environment and transportation, said: “Oakhill Primary Academy on Doncaster Road is one of the five schools chosen for the pilot scheme.
“Our officers are currently evaluating the location, including undertaking speed surveys to measure the current traffic speeds. Due to the staff turnover, the works have been slightly delayed.
“However, we are working on it as a high priority initiative and aiming to have the signs in place during the autumn term.”