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Surrey County Council rejects calls to cut speed limit on road where man was killed

4 minute read
Surrey County Council rejects calls to cut speed limit on road where man was killed

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Rebecca Curley at 2:31pm 10th March 2020.

Surrey County Council cannot reduce the speed limit along a Whyteleafe road where a 30-year-old man died in an alleged hit-and-run because drivers are already sticking to the limit, a meeting was told. 

Tests along the A22 Godstone Road show the majority of cars drive below the speed restrictions.

But residents say it is dangerous for children to cross and want the county council to reduce the speed limit and address aggressive driving along the road. 

They pulled together a petition calling for changes after a pedestrian died in January.

The cause of the collision is still being investigated.

A22 Godstone Road
The A22 Godstone Road.

The petition, signed by more than 300 people, asked SCC for a reduction on the speed limit on Godstone Road and Hillbury Road, for more crossings at regular intervals, for more speed monitoring and cameras and an update on an existing crossing which has been out of action for a while. 

It was presented to the SCC and Tandridge District Council Local Committee on Friday (March 6).

Cllr David Lee, who spoke on behalf of the organisers of the petition, said the death of Matthew Berry in January who was killed in a collision with a car whilst he was out walking had “triggered a number of concerns locally around safety on that stretch of road”. 

He said where the footpath narrows near to the site of the crash made it hard for pedestrians to see clearly to cross the road. 

He added that residents have seen large lorries mounting the pavement to get past parked cars and even quad bikes “using the road as a speedway”. 

He said: “Parents have been concerned about how dangerous it is for children to cross the road.”

He read out a letter written by Davina Matlock who started the petition. She said: “After the tragic hit and run on Godstone Road I feel there needs to be a change to the roads around the Whyteleafe community area.

“I love living in Whyteleafe but do not feel safe in my community any longer.”

According to council papers at the meeting between December 2016 and November 2019 there were 14 collisions where a person was hurt – five people suffered serious injuries and nine suffered “slight injury”.

Speed has not been a contributing factor to previously recorded incidents on this stretch of the A22, the meeting was told. 

The speed limit between Wapses Lodge roundabout and a point south of the junction with Salmons Lane is 40mph. It then changes to 30mph up to the boundary with Croydon. 

Speed surveys carried out in June 2019 on the 30mph stretch found the mean speed was 26mph meaning it did not fall into the category to be lowered to 20mph. Speed surveys from 2017 for the 40mph section found mean speeds below this so again it did not meet guidelines for the speed limit to be reduced. 

Zena Curry, SCC area highway manager, said the council could not change the 30mph speed limit along the road but they could “review the signs to see if it will benefit from vehicle activated signs”.

And she said a pedestrian crossing is on the Integrated Transport Schemes list for consideration. 

But she said any changes to the safety of crossing the Godstone Road would need to first be looked at through a feasibility study that could be funded by the village council and money it gets from new developments in the area. 

She told the meeting: “We would need the feasibility first and that’s something that could be funded through parish CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) if they choose to do so.”

Matthew Berry, 30, from Warlingham was killed after a collision with a car whilst he was out walking along the road on January 9. 

A 26-year-old man from Kenley was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop at the scene of a collision and failing to report a collision. 

He has been released under investigation which remains ongoing with the Surrey Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit.