The Parish Council invites members of the community to comment on ideas for new village gateways. If you wish to input your views, please do so here or by attending the Parish Council meeting tomorrow in the Village Hall at 7.30pm (Village meeting starts at 7.00pm).
What is a Village Gateway and why do we need one?
When the bridge in Misterton was closed for an extended period of time in 2020/21, our village got an unwelcome glimps of what traffic might be in 10-20years time. For a period, all the traffic that would normally travel through Crewkerne on the A356 came through North Perrott. A large proportion was being diverted out of its way and was in a hurry to make up time. The sheer volume of HGV’s and the speed that they were travelling immediatly impacted on the houses closest to the main road, some of whom are built on 15th Century foundations. Pictures moved on walls, cracks appeared in plaster and in some cases, fell off the wall. The Parish Council acted quickly and initiated a 20’s Plenty campaign to slow down HGV’s passing through the village. Over 25 local transport companies were written to and we even had 3 supportive replies! The result was a significant reduction in speed and an immediate reduction in damage and inconveniance to home owners. Temporary banners were put up and have been in place for over 12 months. This is not a problem that will go away and so NPPC has decided that a more permanent solution is required.
Statistics and experts from Highways insist that to reduce average speeds in build up areas, drivers need to see and understand the reason that they should slow down. Bus stops, schools and pedestrians walking on the road are obvious examples but most dangers are invisible or only occasional. The solution that many villages have taken is to install gateways to their villages, giving a visulal reminder to drivers that they are entering a community that represents a potential reason to slow down and drive concienciously. To reinforce this we already have a very active Community Speedwatch group (CSW) and now a Speed Indicator Device (SID).
The intention is place a fence behind the existing Hamstone sign at the south of the village and a gatepost on the opposite verge. This not an actual gate but it represents a visual gateway to the village. The same will be replicated at the other end of the village. The stone will have the village name engraved on it but there will need to be more signage, to explain the reason for slowing down and what speed we are expecting drivers to travel through the village at. Given that the curent speed limit is 30mph, the intention is to target HGV’s (including tractors) to reduce their speed to 20mph using the current slogan 20’s plenty and the Highways accepted green sign, which is voluntary. This avoids the costly and bureacratic application for a blanket 20mph limit, which we might not qualify for in any case. This project is to be a ramping up of an already successful campaign but not ruling out further speed controlling measures in the future.
The present banners stipulate that the reason for slowing down HGV’s is because our houses are close to the road and on ancient foundations. We are also a conservation area and a one of the most beautiful hamstone villages in the area. We need a short and sharp message that will convey why drivers should slow down and in a permanent and tasteful way that is fitting in our environment.
To that end, the fence will be built out of green oak, that has already been felled and is scheduled to be milled in June. We would like to give villagers the chance to brain-storm ideas that the PC can consider incorporating into the design, before work is started.
On this page, there are examples of what other villages have done. Most have opted for off the peg Highways approved designs, often white and mostly made of recycle plastic. Not entirely fitting with a conservation area, so we would like to be a bit more creative with natural and local materials if we can.
Everyone should be familar with the hamstone name sign at the south of the village. It is assume that the northern end should match. Please let us know if you think differentl
Behind the Stone will be a symbolic gate. This might comprise to gate posts and 3, 4 or 5 rails, perhaps with a crossmember? On the other side of the road , the verge is quite narrow and might only have room for a single gate post. At the northern site there may be room for short length of fence. What do you think?
We have a quote for a new stone, at £760 installed. However, the engraving is much more expensive. What would you like to see engraved on the stone? NORTH PERROTT alone will add about £1,005 to the cost. Adding CONSERVATION AREA or 15th CENTURY FOUNDATIONS would double that cost.
An alternative would be to have a highways sign similar to the 20’s plenty sign on the existing banners. This might be on the opposite side of the road to the hamstone sign? Would you approve of that or do you have differnt idea?
It’s not easy to mock up a picture of exactly what it could look like but I hope you now have an idea of what we would like to see at both ends of the village. Please come along to the meeting tomorrow and take part in the conversation.