Mark Community Speedwatch has, unfortunately, been advised by the Police that it will have to close down during the present lock down. We shall, of course, return as soon as the situation improves.
The good news is that the speed watch area covering Mark/Watchfield and East Huntspill has been awarded a £20,000 grant by National Grid to purchase nine active SIDs (Speed Indicator Devices). These devices will be deployed through the villages, eight as static solar panelled units and one portable. The portable unit will be deployed at various locations along the Causeway. The static units will be in fixed locations at the approaches to the villages to advise drivers of the changes to the speed limit. The SIDs will also gather information as to the number of vehicles, speeds and direction. This information will be used to co-ordinate speed watch locations and times and can also be used by the Police Speed Enforcement Unit for the locations.
We have also been advised that Highways will be deploying Wiff Waffs outside Mark School. We assume that the lights will flash during the morning and afternoon arrival and departure of the children. During these times the speed limit in that area will be 20 mph. The signage will also change to advise motorists that there are NO pavements in this area and to be aware of pedestrians walking.
Mark Community Speedwatch continues to operate during lock down and, following Police guidelines, with only two volunteers out at any one time instead of the usual three.
Speed Watch is run by volunteers from the village and supported by Avon and Somerset Police. The equipment required is provided by the Police, such as the Speed Indicating Units (or guns as somebody on Village Life called them) and the high visibility jackets. The aim of the Speed Watch is to educate drivers to the official speed limit designated through our village which is 30MPH. Speeds are checked and any driver who is over 35 mph (30 + 10% + 2) is clocked and the details of the vehicle are passed on to the police for action. Normally this will involve a letter reminding them of their responsibility, which could end up by a visit from the police for repeat or high end (over 40 mph) drivers.
Community Speed Watch has no authority to fine or issue penalties but drivers should be aware that the "Speed Enforcement Unit", which also operates in this area does, and will issue these penalties. Anyone exceeding 40mph in a 30mph zone is liable to a fine and points on their licence.
Some of you will have noticed that there is a SID (Speed Indicating Device) in the village at the moment. This is also deployed to remind drivers of the local speed limit. You may also have noticed that the 30mph zone has been extended out of the village on the Blackford Road to a point just on top of the hill between Perry Lane and Somerlap. The reason for the extension is because just opposite Perry Lane Junction is a BUS STOP FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN and at this time of the year you might have noticed that it gets light later and dark earlier and children wear dark uniforms. If you are heading out of the village, it is 30mph until you get to the brow of the hill NOT when you go through the pinch point at Mark College. The reverse is also true. The 30mph starts at the brow of the hill before Perry Lane and NOT at the pinch point.
We have a speed watch check point at the cemetery and we still clock speeders coming into the village at over 40mph and we also clock drivers putting their foot down as soon as they pass the pinch point. SPEED WATCH IS TO TRY TO KEEP PEOPLE SAFE NOT TO CATCH SPEEDERS.
Following numerous complaints of speeding vehicles through the village, the present team (currently consisting of eight volunteers) was set up at the end of 2009 and carried out their first speedwatch session in February, 2010. Since then a total of 249 sessions (mostly of one hour duration) have taken place, reporting over 3,162 speeding vehicles. The aim is for a team of three to carry out a one hour session each week at varied times and locations, weather permitting.
Currently there are a total of nine approved sites within Mark, from the Traffic Island bordering Watchfield in the West, through to Mark College in the East, all of which are in a 30mph speed zone.
Whilst in some police force areas there is zero tolerance for speeding, in Avon & Somerset the tolerance is the speed limit x 10% + 2 mph i.e. in a 30mph zone this would be 35mph. Therefore Mark CSW reports only those vehicles exceeding 35mph.
Any person interested in joining the team or find out more about Mark CSW, should please contact Geoff Francis on Tel: 01278 641388 or e-mail Geoffreyfrancis@btinternet.com