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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Move to cut speed on drivers’ rat run in west Cumbria

A traffic study is to be carried out in Whitehaven into possible measures to stop motorists speeding along a rat run.

County councillor Graham Roberts has committed more than £8,500 of council money to the investigation at Harras Moor, where drivers use the hill road between the Red Lonning area at the top – including Whitehaven Golf Course, and St Benedict’s and Whitehaven Schools – and the Sunnyhill area at the bottom.

This could lead to new signs, chicanes or speed humps being introduced.

Mr Roberts said: “Speeding vehicles have been an issue for many years in this area and something has to be done.

“There is particular concern as St James’ Junior School is in that vicinity and cars come flying down the hill, so myself, the police and residents are all keen for action to be taken.”

This scheme is a continuation of traffic improvements in the area, following the introduction of a barrier outside St James’ School to prevent children leaving the gates and going straight on to the road. The grant has been agreed from the county council’s members scheme, in which councillors have £12,000 to spend on projects in their patch.

Elsewhere in Copeland, funding has been agreed to carry out highways improvements at Yewbarrow Close, Mirehouse, following claims that the road is too narrow and is difficult to navigate when cars are parked.

From the members scheme, £5,496 has been agreed for improvement work.

In addition, £5,000 has been allocated to carry out surface repairs on a lane at the back of Bookwell Primary School in Egremont.

The budget to repair highways in Cumbria is around one-fifth of what it was in 1999. A meeting of Copeland’s Cumbria county councillors was told that the budget was £1.9m in 1999 – the equivalent of around £6m – compared to the current budget of £1.2m.

Local committee chairman Frank Morgan said: “This is a real concern.”

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