Given the amount of concern there is over volumes and speed of traffic through our residential areas, we were surprised at how few locals attended the Joint Committee Meeting at the end of March the date of which had been widely reported. Two petitions had been lodged regarding traffic. One from mother Emma Ronan whose child had been hit by a car at the Black Dog crossing in Ashford Common received a very sympathetic hearing.
Although everyone was in agreement that there should be a safe pedestrian crossing at the busy junction, no one in the council chambers was under any misconception that the £5,000 feasibility study agreed upon would actually result in the £500,000 needed to implement a new crossing. There is no safe crossing point nearby and it is unreasonable to expect people to walk to Cadbury Road which is the closest.
Charlton Village Residents Association had also submitted two petitions: One regarding the continuing flooding and consequent road danger: The other relating to speed and safety. In the end only the first had been given a hearing as the second was deemed to have been phrased in a political manner. Well, however it was phrased, it is still a major concern! The good news regarding the speeding is the recent confirmation of average speed cameras to be installed at both ends of the village.
There has only been one other agreement in Surrey for this type of speed camera so we should not underestimate the importance of getting them agreed. This should reduce the traffic speed going through the village quite significantly.
The highest recorded two-way 24 hourly traffic volume (averaged from a seven day period) going through Charlton Village is over 18,000 vehicles per day (yes we did state 96,000 previously but Surrey County Council had mistaken the weeks figure for the daily one).
There was a great deal of enthusiasm for the speeding problem in the village, but Cllr Maureen Attewell raised her own concern about the need to address the serious nature of the persistent road flooding in the village. The photos below show to what an extent this causes problems; impossible for pedestrians to walk down the road without being soaked; cars veering over to the other side of the road to avoid hitting the water and aquaplaning. Both councils agreed that the old soakaways had probably reached their life expectancy and needed refitting and enlarging to cope with the volume of water being produced with new weather patterns.
But the ongoing problem is one of funding. With a £40m deficit in it’s budget, Surrey County Council has no spare money. In an ideal world of course all this work would be done, but that logic does not help the Charlton Village residents who continue to take their lives into their hands if they want to move around the village, whether it be in a car or on foot.