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Achieving the impossible

Achieving the impossible? - A Master Class in Action Groups

Greetham has an excellent reputation for community action, but we can learn from other villages, particularly those that have achieved seemingly impossible goals.
Steve Bertussi and I paid a visit to Sharnford in Leicestershire to find out how their traffic action group has persuaded their County Council to install average speed cameras in their village.

Sharnford has very similar traffic problems to Greetham. It has a B road running through the village with a high volume of heavy goods vehicles. It has narrow streets and pavements such that pedestrians are put at risk.

For years, the village has been trying to get speed cameras. Their County Council would not entertain the idea, quoting national policy that there have to be three fatalities at a location before speed camer- as will be installed.

So, short of sacrificing three villagers to the cause, how did they achieve their goal?
Firstly they were fortunate in having people with the right skills who were prepared to spend significant time and effort on the cause. They set out with clear objectives.

They raised money to fund the project.
They collected data and photos to support their cause.
They relentlessly used the media – press, radio and TV – to embarrass officials.
They were ruthless in promoting their cause.

Finally, after ten years, national policy miraculously changed, the County Council found the money and they and five other villages have been promised the cameras this year.

Not just a single fixed camera, but average speed cameras covering the whole village. In future, if you do more than 30mph through Sharn- ford, you will get a speeding ticket. (Incidentally Rutland County Coun- cil have been claiming that the cost of such an installation would be £1,000,000. The true cost is nearer £80,000).

We have a full information pack, kindly prepared by Sharnford on their action group’s activities.

Sharnford’s next objective is to get a bypass. We have a suspicion that they will get it.