Silence from St Helier's 10 States Deputies but anger on social media as St Helier's Roads Committee votes to lower speed limit from 30mph to 20mph within the ring road
The controversial decision was taken during a St Helier Roads Committee meeting on Wednesday morning on the back of an apparent 'consultation' with residents which Crowcroft admitted only received 60 responses. I made reference to the Parish plan to drop the speed limit in my previous post on this thread about 5 weeks ago, so I must have read about it somewhere in a media article. However, I wasn't made aware of how to participate in any consultation, not that I would have bothered anyway as I know the parish was just going through the motions in order to justify what it had always intended to do come what may ("This is not a new idea for St. Helier and it has always been part of the strategy."
- Simon Crowcroft quoted by Bailiwick Express, link below).
The sthelier.je website is a byzantine maze that is very difficult to navigate but I conducted a brief trawl of various pages to try to find an official mention of this supposed consultation, without any success. I also searched the minutes of the 3 previous Roads Committee meetings that have been held this year but there was simply no mention of their intention to reduce the speed limit to 20mph on all parish roads. It is possible they discussed it last year but I didn't have time to search through those minutes. Needless to say if this parish consultation only took place within the last couple of months then the Roads Committee hardly helped to raise public awareness of it by totally failing to mention their speed limit proposals during their own meetings that were open to the public to attend on 25th January, 1st March and 22nd March.
It is not known which Roads Committee members were in attendance and took this decision on Wednesday. The last Roads Committee election was held at a Parish Assembly meeting on 17th December 2014
(to elect 5 officers for a term of 3 years) but -surprise, surprise - when I searched for the minutes of that particular meeting, it had not
been uploaded to the website! Even an extensive google search failed to find it. Is it just parish incompetence or something more sinister that accounts for vital information like this not being put into the public domain?
However, it would appear from cross-referencing with other Roads Committee minutes from that period that only one new officer was elected for the first time in 2014 (perennial St Helier No. 2 election failure Bernie Manning
) with the others being re-elected (no doubt unopposed, as is the long-held tradition). The Roads Committee membership is regulated by a law that came into force over 100 years ago (1914) and is so arcane that even the Rector has automatic membership
and presumably the right to vote as well. However, I presume that this week's meeting may have come too soon for the new Rector, whose appointment has only recently been announced.
According to the parish website (link below) these are the names of the current Roads Committee members (I have struck through the previous Rector's name): Simon Crowcroft
(Chair): email: email@example.com; Tel.: 811821; Nigel Blake
; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel.: 875339;
The Very Rev. Bob Key: email: email@example.com; Tel.: 720001
; Robert Le Brocq
: email: RLeBrocq@outlook.com; Tel.: 743606; Peter Wade
: email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel.: 875663; Bernard Manning
: email: email@example.com; Tel.: 07700 356438; and Barry Le Feuvre
: email: firstname.lastname@example.org: Tel.: 874391.
It is simply not acceptable that a decision with such major consequences for all drivers of vehicles (whether they be St Helier residents or not) has been pushed through on the sly with no detailed information provided to justify it. For example, was any expert impartial opinion sought and if so, did that opinion specifically examine particular roads within the parish to see whether there was actually a problem with speeding and whether a blanket reduction in the speed limit could be justified. It might be appropriate for a 20mph limit on some of the narrower and smaller roads but there may well be other roads where a higher speed limit is quite acceptable. From the little we know, it seems that this Committee failed to undertake any expert research and didn't consider whether it was appropriate to have higher speed limits on certain roads, or whether other speed reducing measures would have been sufficient.
A valid question has been raised on BBC Radio Jersey's Facebook page by Jill Bartholomew (link below) as to where the exact boundary of the St Helier ring road is located. It is not clear where the ring road is located in the south of St Helier. For example, is Havre des Pas inside the ring road? If it is, then the ring road must be on the beach! To add further confusion, it seems that some major roads in the centre of town are actually classed as States main roads and not parish roads (i.e. Broad Street, Queen Street, etc.). Therefore it is far from clear to the ordinary public which roads will be affected by the Roads Committee decision and which won't.
Let's just hope that this backfires on Crowcroft and someone is brave enough to stand against him in a year's time - and no, I don't mean Chris Whitworth or Stevie Ocean but someone with more than a chance in a million of actually beating him. He has been in the job unopposed for far too many years and none of the parish puppets holding office beneath him will disagree with him. There must be a change of both the person and the policy at the very top of the St Helier power pyramid and the time for this to happen is long overdue.