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Speedwatch scheme 'swept under carpet' claims Etherley Parish Council
A PARISH council is to write to police after claims a scheme to tackle speeding through a County Durham village has been 'swept under the carpet.'
The speedwatch scheme was launched by Bishop Auckland Police's neighbourhood team in Toft Hill in 2009.
The scheme involves volunteers from the community using a speed matrix to check vehicle speeds, note down registration numbers and send warning letters to offending motorists.
However, at their October meeting, Etherley Parish Council members were told the speedwatch scheme had stalled.
In a report to members, it was stated that the village's speedwatch volunteer had not been contacted for a year and police confirmed the matrix equipment had been out of action for several months.
As a result there has been no speedwatch activity in Toft Hill for months.
The meeting was told enthusiasm for the scheme remained, but this would lapse if no support to get it back up and running was offered..
Councillor Paul Ryman said a letter of concern should be sent to the local police inspector highlighting the parish's concern over the speedwatch scheme and other policing issues.
“We should write that we are not happy about the speedwatch scheme, which has been swept under the carpet,” he said.
“We also don't have a replacement PCSO and the street wardens that Durham County Council promised us have disappeared again.
“It would be nice to be kept informed,” added Coun Ryman.
The meeting was told police had carried out 16 patrols on the A68 through Toft Hill between the Three Tunns pub and the Sportsman Pub during September, but no notices had been issued.
Concern was also voiced by members about vehicle speeds down Etherley Bank towards West Auckland.
Much of the stretch of road is subject to the national 60mph limit, but parish councillors said 40mph would be more appropriate.
Chairman Peter Ray asked: “There is a lot of speeding on that bank – can anything be done?”
County councillor Stephen Hugill said an attempt had been made several years ago to introduce a 40mph limit, but this had not come to fruition.
Members agreed to write to the police with their concerns.