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Calls for speed limit to be reduced near Downham Market primary school

Concerns have been expressed over speeding near a town primary school during a meeting this week.

Borough councillor Andy Bullen told a full Downham Town Council meeting last night that traffic around the Nelson Academy has been a “big “concern” for residents for a while.

Mr Bullen, who represents Downham, said he is working with Highways to try and find a resolution to the problem.

Nelson Academy, Downham Market
Nelson Academy, Downham Market

And town councillor Frank Daymond bemoaned motorists exceeding the 30mph limit on Clackclose Road and Wimbotsham Road, which are adjacent to Nelson Academy on Nursery Road.

Mr Daymond said: “Nelson Academy has had a school there for an awful number of years and for years I have been trying to get the speed limit down on Wimbotsham Road and Clacklose Road.

“A 20mph restriction could do some good here because there are people definitely exceeding the limit.

“Lets look at road safety and parking. At the moment, Covid has reduced the number of cars there but a 20mph speed limit would be of good use.”

In response, Mr Bullen said Norfolk Police had acknowledged the problem, but admitted it was no different in Downham to many other places and there may not be the police resources to monitor the area.

He raised the possibility of roughly six volunteers coming forward to join a Community Speedwatch team instead.

Mr Daymond told the meeting it was a police responsibility to keep ratepayers safe.

And town councillor Jackie Westrop said the police can be creative if they need to be, referring to mobile speed cameras in the Fens.

She added that the police are advertising for community responses as part of SNAP meetings and drop-in surgeries, which could be a way of taking the issue forward.

Mrs Westrop also referred to speeding on Bridge Street in the town centre and suggested there would be people willing to volunteer for a Speedwatch team.

But town clerk Elaine Oliver said Norfolk County Council has a “strict criteria” on speed limits, so the main option would be for the town council to contact Andy Wallace, highway engineer for Norfolk County Council.

Councillor Alan Pickering commented that there are many “silly” streets where drivers go from 20mph to 30mph then back to 20mph again.

“It’s just a case of money with Norfolk County Council,” he added.

Sarah Wilson, head of Nelson Academy, told the Lynn News: “Anything that keeps the surrounding area of the school safe would be a good idea.

“We welcome anything which will help to keep the students and parents safe.”

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