Village High Street under the spotlight

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 22 July 2020

A Saddleworth village is at the centre of a debate surrounding social distancing and the imposition of a 20mph limit to crackdown on speedsters.

Oldham council, who are examining various social distancing interventions across the borough, have identified Uppermill High Street as one of "the areas of concern".

An email to local ward councillors from Unity Partnership says: “The combination of high levels of pedestrian movements, narrow footways and high traffic flows make social distancing a real issue. 

“We have central government funding to use for social distancing purposes and road marking promoting social distancing in the High Street were marked out with the road marking team last week and should appear on site later this week.

“A further option for Uppermill is a 20mph speed limit through the High Street area.

"To avoid a plethora of terminal speed limit signs at side roads, it is proposed to extend the limit into all no through roads branching off the High Street. 

“We’re also exploring the possibility of traffic calming for the High Street.

"At this stage I’m looking to garner support for the speed limit reduction and see what your views are on the possibility of traffic calming measure.”

Ward councillor Graham Sheldon, who also serves on Saddleworth Parish Council, said in a response: “We must rely on the general public to take on the responsibility of social distancing.

“The numbers accumulating in the local pubs is quite alarming, some people think they are invincible and are not taking the serious nature of the virus a reality.

“A 20 mph speed limit on High Street would be welcome, but I would suggest the streets off High Street are so parked up and narrow there is little opportunity for vehicles to travel above 10mph at any time.

“I would suggest the VAS signs, which are used regularly in Tameside and keep the driver aware of their speed. 

"I would also support speed cameras as we often see boy racers using high street as a racetrack, especially during evening time.”

Cllr Sheldon added delivery vehicles should be given early morning time slots to ease traffic movement through the village at peak hours.

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