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Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill, ponders whether council should pay for 20mph speed limit study
Hopes of turning Watford into a 20mph town could still be alive as the borough council considers funding the crucial first step itself.
Watford’s elected mayor, Dorothy Thornhill, has said she is weighing up whether the borough can fund a feasibility study itself to start the process.
Hertfordshire County Council, which is in charge of the area’s roads, has said a feasibility study is needed before it looks at implementing the proposals. But the authority has been reluctant to undertake the study itself.
Speaking to the Watford Observer, Mayor Thornhill said: "We are being asked to fund the feasibility study as the county council won’t do it. I am looking at whether we should fund it. I don’t think it would be a vast amount."
Her comments come after transport bosses at Hertfordshire County Council poured cold water on the scheme in October by saying they felt a blanket 20mph zone would be "inappropriate" for Watford.
Mayor Thornhill also said she was still committed to cutting the speed limit on non-major roads in Watford to 20mph.
The campaign to reduce Watford’s speed limits was galvanised back in March when all four borough political parties voted to support it.
The scheme, which has been lobbied for by the 20’s Plenty campaign group, would see the speed limit lowered on all non-major roads in the town.
However the final decision lies with Hertfordshire County Council, which is less keen on the proposal.
In April the Conservative leader of the county council, Robert Gordon, said he was concerned police would not want to enforce such a lower speed limit and expensive measures like speed bumps would be needed instead.
Then in October, the scheme received a serious blow when Hertfordshire’s deputy cabinet member for highways and transport, Phil Bibby, said the administration would not consider a blanket 20mph zones for Watford.
He said: "The county council wants 20mph speed limits in place in appropriate locations in the county, but we do not believe that it would be appropriate to introduce a town-wide limit in Watford."