Traffic calming ideas for Compton Bassett

The Parish Council are hoping to submit proposals shortly to tackle some of the issues we are experiencing from an increase in traffic volume and speeding in the village. These will initially go forward to Calne Area Transport Group (CATG) for consideration and possible funding.

It’s important to emphasise that these measures are but one component and that further talks are ongoing with interested parties to augment this stage with plans for ‘a centre of village’ concept. We hope to bring you the recommendations of the next phase as soon as possible.

Our Village The village road is 2.5 miles long from the parish boundary near Breach Farm, to the 30mph entry near Home Farm and is a Class III designated road with three different speed zones within this stretch: 60mph, 40mph & 30mph. Department of Transport 2013 guidance ‘Setting Local Speed Limits’ is very helpful with criteria to recommend speed limits in different situations.

We have to be pragmatic and prioritise on what we think are the worst problems affecting us. We may not get agreement on all of these but we are going to push very hard and feel we have a strong case to make.

Psychological versus Physical We are not proposing pinch points, chicanes, build-outs, rumble-strips, speed cushions, ramps or humps; not at this stage anyway. The emphasis will be one of engaging positively with motorists who drive through the village and currently see little change in the linear hedge-line environment as they progress from rural road into our village. This lack of a sense of shared space is our challenge to overcome, and make drivers aware that this is a settlement full of people, not just a highway for commuting.

The Proposals There are five recommendations which we are putting forward for your support and County Council approval. These are in approximate order of priority

1. Extend 30mph zone from the Old Laundry, 48 CB to include Dove Cottage, 57 CB

It is government policy that a 30 mph speed limit should be the norm in villages. Our existing 30mph zone into the village only starts near the Old Laundry, next to the Village Hall. This is too close to the centre of village amenities (The White Horse Inn, Village Hall, bus stop etc) and results in vehicles coming in from Hilmarton frequently at or above the speed limit, many still in the process of slowing down from 40mph. Furthermore, vehicles proceeding north out of the village often anticipate the increase to 40mph and begin accelerating near the White Horse Inn.

Significantly, a row of 10 dwellings is in the area immediately north of the present 30mph entry point, all within a 400 metre walking distance of the village centre. There is no footpath on this narrow single track road and pedestrians along this section have to endure a hazardous walk in the present 40mph zone. It would not only benefit people to have the speed limit reduced along this constantly walked section of road, but there should be a knock-on effect of lessening speeds past the village hall and Briar Leaze junction, which is currently a well-known problem for villagers.

2. Extend 40mph zone from Dugdales Farm to include Breach Farm

This 0.7 mile single track road has 16 residential properties on its course, many of which suffer obstructed views joining the highway from driveways. The current 60mph speed limit is unacceptable and dangerous. Additionally, two footpaths and a bridleway connect to it, with walkers and horse riders routinely using it.

Section 7: Rural Speed Management of the Department of Transport’s guidance Setting Local Speed Limits 2013 determines what prescribes an appropriate speed limit, and 60mph is only appropriate for the best quality roads with few bends, junctions or accesses.

The C15 named road, as designated by Wiltshire Council meets the Department of Transport’s own criteria for a 40mph speed limit:

  • There are multiple access points with a high potential for collision
  • Vulnerable road users, walkers, horse riders and cyclists, routinely use it
  • Part of the road is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • The road is wholly in the village with 16 dwellings.

At present, it’s 60mph along the single track village road (highlighted in green). By contrast, the higher graded two-lane B3102 Hilmarton to Calne road is restricted to 50mph!

3. New village entry signage

The effect of gateways on traffic speeds has been shown to contribute a limited, yet positive benefit. Their usefulness lies in delineating the village boundary and emphasising a conversion from rural to urban. Speed reductions, in surveys said to be worth 4–5mph, may well be local to the immediate area but it’s an important first step in ameliorating a sense of change in environment.A conjectural view of a village gateway

The recently installed painted signs are an asset and will be retained in their current locations but a greater impact needs to be made at the 30mph entry near Home Farm. A pair of white gateways, to replace the old speed roundels on poles, with a dedicated nameplate will make a prominent statement to motorists entering the village. At the north end of the village, the nameplate sign has disappeared, leaving just the other painted sign by numbers 1–4 The Breach. We propose a pair of gateways near the parish boundary, NW of the track to Breach Farm at the same position as we recommend the new 40mph speed limit start. These gates are made from a blend of wood fibre, recycled thermoplastics and adhesive resins. They give the appearance of wood with all the longevity of plastic so they will not rot or require varnishing or painting.

A conjectural view of a village gateway

4. Vehicle activated sign

A new 30mph speed enforcing sign should contribute to a reduction of speed in the proposed 30mph extension zone (Old Laundry, 48 CB to Dove Cottage 57 CB) and benefit the centre of village area where Community Speedwatch is currently undertaken. Speed Indictor Devices attract drivers’ attention, decrease vehicle speeds and generally attract a positive compliance.

5. White painted tram lines

Certain straighter sections of village road allow for an increase in traffic speed. One such section has identified by the war memorial, despite its narrow width making it difficult for larger vehicles to pass each other. There is no pavement and pedestrians feel at risk. One inexpensive plan is to paint a white tram line marginally inset from the road verge. These can convey an illusion of a false kerb-line, visually narrowing the road width and creating sufficient uncertainty to decrease speed. In tests, the reduction in speed was greatest where the edging appeared to be unsuitable to drive on.