STAFFING issues have delayed the rollout of a road safety scheme across the town - but a local councillor feels it’s just yet another excuse from the Labour council.
At last week’s full council meeting, Darton East Coun Steve Hunt asked Coun James Higginbottom as to why he speed indicator device in Staincross Common had been broken - and subsequently not replaced - for a number of months.
The latest statistics show more than 15,000 motorists were caught exceeding the limit over a three-year period.
Since 2019, 15,577 notices of intended prosecution have been issued in the town, and more than 200,000 by South Yorkshire Police in the county.
Coun Hunt said: “In 2020 the council purchased new speed indicator devices and radar boxes.
“At full council on February 3 2022 in response to my question regarding the deployment of these important road safety assets the then cabinet member reported that the 4th Covid wave had impacted the council’s capacity to roll out the speed indicator devices at that time.
“They then went on to say that ‘I am pleased to report to members that this is a temporary situation, which officers are working tirelessly to resolve. In the coming weeks, we will deploy speed indicator devices to Staincross Common (Darton East), Intake Lane (Darton West) and Racecommon Road (Kingstone) - each for a period of four weeks’.”
However, Coun Hunt questioned why the broken device has been in situ for a number of months.
Coun Higginbottom said: “Regrettably the rollout of the speed indicator devices, including the removal of the device at Staincross Common, has faced delays due to ongoing recruitment challenges.
“It really is a stretched team, although we are in the process of solving those recruitment challenges.
“The traffic team is currently working on a policy and deployment programme across the whole borough - and once this is approved we will be deploying the speed indicator devices in suitable locations across Barnsley.”
However, Coun Hunt felt this was yet another excuse and more needs to be done to protect residents.
He told the Chronicle: “The council have failed completely with the deployment of the speed indicator devices since they were first purchased in 2020.
“They are full of excuses.
“First it was Covid, now it is staff shortages.
“The council has bold ambitions to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads by at least 50 per cent by 2030.
“I fully support this ambition but how on earth will this council achieve it if it can’t even get the basics right.
“Speed indicator devices are a valuable road safety tool and are commonplace on the roads in our neighbouring local authorities.
“It is time for the council to step up on road safety.
“I am rapidly losing confidence in their ability to deliver on this and other road safety schemes.”
The council confirmed they are committed to improving road safety.
Road safety bosses recently urged motorists to slow down as part of a crackdown - after police revealed excess speed accounts for a third of all fatalities on the local road network.
Barnsley’s number of fatal collisions has fallen, according to the latest Department for Transport (DfT) statistics but it has trebled to nine since 2015 when there were just three.
According to South Yorkshire Police, more than 65,000 speed-related offences were recorded by the force last year