CONCERN has been raised about a ‘lack of consultation with residents’ regarding intentions for 20mph zones across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. 

BCP Council’s Three Towns Alliance will have a “really hard time” getting people on board with reduced speed limits, a senior councillor told an overview and scrutiny committee earlier this week. 

Committee chairman Stephen Bartlett said when he goes to council officers about reducing speed limits in his ward, they respond by saying there “is not the evidence to support” the need for change. 

He added: “Here we are saying that those roads would actually be subject to a 20mpoh but there is no data to support those because we’ve already been told the safety data does not exist.” 

Bournemouth Echo: Cllr Stephen BartlettCllr Stephen Bartlett

Committee member Margaret Phipps said: “We’re faced here without any consultation whatsoever with our residents with the possibility of 20mph speed limits across BCP. 

"This was certainly nothing I mentioned to my residents when I was elected. I wonder where this has come from because I’m shocked this has come forward in this format.” 

Read more: Council needs £149k to start rolling out 20mph limits

She described it as a “flawed process” and that there has been “no openness and transparency” from the administration.  

Cllr Bartlett added: “My interpretation here is the administration has made its mind up about what it wants to do and I don’t think they’re serious about the consultation.  

“[They’re] going to have a really hard time because the majority of people that I have spoken to are totally against this.” 

Bournemouth Echo: Deputy leader Millie EarlDeputy leader Millie Earl (Image: BCP Council)

Deputy council leader Millie Earl admitted there is a “slight loggerhead here between where the evidence drives us and where the people drive us”.  

She said: “Our role as an administration is to be able to balance those two. For me, an evidence-based approach is really important. But there is this element of the public not wanting it.  

“It's a very difficult political line to walk but we’re prepared to walk it because we believe the benefits of 20mph are going to outweigh those against.” 

She cited other towns in the country where new 20mph limits are in place and reduced incidents there as an example. 

Cllr Earl added the authority is looking to consult with a ‘have your say’ approach to 20mph limits in the areas where there are the most crashes “as a starting point”. 

Cllr Phipps replied: "Some of the public have lost confidence in some of [the consultations] because you tend to ask questions so you can get the answers that you want."

The meeting also heard from several councillors how 20mph speed limits would be safer for road users and pedestrians.