Residents Discuss Road Safety with Police Superintendent

24 Nov 2023
road safety meeting

The Lib Dems organised a meeting between local residents and Police Superintendent Luke Baldock to discuss road safety in their area. Although residents from only 5 local roads were invited, and despite the terrible weather that day, over 50 residents came to the meeting and filled up the room, highlighting just how important this issue is for local residents. 

The Lib Dem councillors had invited residents of Homesdale Road, Siward Road, Glanville Road, Gundulph Road and Woldham Road to specifically discuss the issues they face on these roads. The meeting took place on Tuesday 14th November in the Scout Hut in Glanville Road. 

Superintendent Baldock is relatively new to Bromley; before his appointment there was one superintendent to cover the three boroughs of Bromley, Croydon and Sutton, but the good news is that he has been appointed just to look after Bromley. As part of his role he is actively seeking opportunities to meet with local residents to discuss their priorities. Burglaries, car thefts and anti social behavour continue to be at the top of people's lists, he reported, but road safety - and particularly speeding - is an issue that is being highlighted at almost every meeting.

Supt. Baldock explained that while the police have no power to force the Council to take action on e.g. traffic calming measures, he explained that they can help residents build a case by collecting and sharing evidence about dangerous driver behaviour. He urged residents to report incidents they see - especially if they have photos or videos that include car number plates - to the Met police website  (although he cautioned that you should not put yourself at risk in order to take those photos). He has started having regular consultations with the Council officers responsible for traffic and highways but reiterated that evidence will be necessary to bring about real change, and that he is happy to help in compiling that evidence.

He explained that the police will enforce speed limits where they can, and told the meeting that Bromley police now have new mobile speed cameras that should be in use fairly soon so residents can ask for these cameras to be used in particular hotspots. The evidence from these speed cameras can help to build a case for action on speeding. On occasion the evidence here can be used to issue fines and points to drivers who regularly offend.

Local resident Susannah Miller spoke for many when she expressed her frustrations about all the different efforts that have been made over the years but without much progress - efforts including community road watch, residents' surveys with results that consistently underline people's concerns, and literally hundreds of reports of speeding traffic made on the police website.

Many residents then spoke about their concerns - the overwhelming concern was speed. There had been many accidents over the years and the situation seemed to be deteriorating rather than improving. Speed of traffic in the roads that link Homesdale Road and Wendover Road was a particular issue; conversely there are often incidents of abusive behaviour as drivers get stuck in traffic jams e.g. waiting to join Homesdale Road or getting stuck in the narrow roads when two cars refuse to give way to each other. Traffic speed on Homesdale Road has already resulted in many accidents and yet little has been done to improve the safety warnings or road layout. 

Many residents complained about the need for a safe crossing on Homesdale Road, particularly for the many children and families who cross there at school times. Graeme Casey speaking for the Lib Dems reported that the Council have now promised a pedestrian survey - since the meeting we have received confirmation that this survey will definitely take place before the schools break up for Christmas.

Other issues raised by residents included:

  • physical measures on the road, e.g. narrowed pavements, speed bumps;
  • one way system on the side roads that link Homesdale and Wendover Roads;
  • safer crossing at the entrance to Old Homesdale Road, a measure to narrow it, perhaps including a pedestrian refuge;
  • impact of cars queueing to use the recycling centre at Waldo Road - many people called for a reintroduction of the appointment system that was in use during the Covid emergency;
  • Dangerous driver behaviour under the railway - one resident spoke about drivers mounting the narrow pavement to squeeze past traffic;
  • introduction of 20 mph zones;
  • the possibility of community funding paying for physical barriers on the road;
  • asking the Council for information on how much of the money collected from parking fines and yellow box enforcements is reinvested into road safety measures.

Speaking for the Liberal Democrat Councillors for Bromley Town, Graeme Casey thanked everyone for attending and urged everyone to help the councillors gather evidence in as many ways that we can and keep the pressure on the Council. Times are changing - there are more and more 20 mph zones across the UK and evidence is mounting about the impact they make for safer roads. The current Council administration has declared themselves to be opposed to any 20 mph limits but Transport for London (TfL) have jurisdiction over the main roads in Bromley and can make a difference, for example the new 20 mph limit introduced in West Wickham High Street. If we work jointly with the police, with TfL and with local residents we can try to persuade the Council to make small but significant changes while we wait for a change of heart on the bigger political issue of speeding.



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