SAFETY concerns regarding the knock-on impact of a giant new 400-home estate which is being built near a 60mph road will lead to a speed limit reduction being implemented - much to the delight of local leaders who have campaigned for change.
The Penistone estate - which is being built by Barratt Homes and David Wilson - includes 12 one-bedroom, 80 two-bedroom, 139 three-bedroom and 169 four-bedroom homes off Wellhouse Lane.
Neighbouring Halifax Road, which currently has a national speed limit, will be cut to 50mph between its junction with Hoylandswaine roundabout, and a point 40 metres north-west of its junction with Huddersfield Road.
Collision data obtained from South Yorkshire Police shows that between Hoylandswaine roundabout and junction of A629 Halifax Road and Renald Lane, there has been four serious accidents and three minor accidents in the last five years.
One of the causation factors in two incidents out of seven was excessive speed.
Ruling cabinet members signed off the scheme on Wednesday following pressure from local councillors and Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Miriam Cates, who all supported the reduction.
A council report said: “The planning consent was specific to investigating ways of managing vehicle speeds on the A629 Halifax Road.
“Alternative measures, including physical engineering features such as traffic islands, a roundabout, road narrowing and raised surfacing were all considered to impact vehicles’ speeds and traffic flow.
“Considering the results of the speed surveys, reducing the speed limit was the most appropriate and proportionate option.
“A recent speed survey showed that the 85 per cent of traffic travel at 52mph and below, so it is appropriate and proportionate to reduce the speed limit to 50mph.
“The proposal is regarded as the best and most appropriate option in response to the planning condition to assess and investigate ways to manage vehicle speeds in the vicinity of the new development.”
Just a single letter of objection was received, the council confirmed, relating to 50mph still being too fast and calls were made for a 40mph limit.
“It is not considered that reducing the speed limit further would achieve additional benefits because of the likelihood that drivers will not adhere to it without additional measures such as fixed or mobile cameras, both of which require significant funds and strong collision justification,” the report added.
“It is true that the character and alignment of the road usually have most influence on driver behaviour, and that speed limits are not a panacea for reckless driving.
“However, signing a limit nearer the average speed can give a clearer message of appropriate speed in this location.
“A pedestrian crossing Island will be introduced on A629 Halifax Road near the entrance to the new development to provide pedestrians a two- stage safer crossing.”
Ms Cates praised the move and told the Chronicle it will boost safety for both motorists and pedestrians.
She said: “I’ve been calling for this speed limit reduction alongside Couns Robert Barnard and John Wilson, as well as former councillor Paul Hand-Davis and other local campaigners.
“Residents’ concerns focus on the high volumes of traffic and the poor visibility on the road, especially during winter months.
“The new Wellhouse Lane development will increase the number of road users, especially at peak times when many motorists will be taking a right turn onto the A629 to access the M1.
“I’m delighted the council has listened to our concerns about the safety of vehicles emerging from Wellhouse Lane, especially during peak times with higher volumes of traffic.
“I also raised the dangers posed to motorists on the A629 by adverse weather conditions and reduced visibility, and am glad these factors have been taken into consideration during the speed limit review.”