Plans to reduce the A38 speed limit from 50mph to 40mph on the approaches to Wellington prompted a fierce discussion at the town council meeting. Councillors’ opinions ranged from open-road libertarians to the more safety conscious.
The proposals come from Somerset County Council’s traffic management team and cover the stretch of road from the World’s End pub to the Cades Farm roundabout. Statistics show three people killed or seriously injured and 11 slight injury incidents here in the past five years.
“I don’t think people will respect the speed limit if it drops to 40mph,” said Cllr John Thorne. “When you reduce speed limits you just increase congestion.”
Cllr Gary James supported his view. “A cutback from 50mph to 40mph will be catastrophic,” he said. “At the times I travel in from Taunton I’m surprised if drivers can get above 25/30mph”
He was supported by Cllr James Hunt who said, “You’ll follow the same car all the way from Taunton to Wellington because you can’t overtake”
Opposition came from Cllr Charles Biscoe among others. “It’s a dangerous stretch of road and it’s not just there for the benefit of cars. There are other road users who need to be considered. We’re talking about road safety not the pleasures of driving.”
“I cannot support this proposal enough,” added Cllr William Brown. “The traffic is so fast and heavy that people are getting off a bus and waiting up to 10 minutes to cross the road safely to go to work in Chelston Business Park.”
Town clerk Greg Dyke will report on the wide range of opinions to the SCC traffic management team.