A speed limit reduction too far as gridlock hits sleepy village

Roads through the quiet West Sussex village of Caniston-St-Xerxes have been in gridlock for the last three weeks after authorities reduced the speed limit through the area to zero miles an hour. 

The Highways Agency made the reduction after bowing to pressure from villagers who had been calling vociferously for a 0mph limit.  However residents soon regretted their hard-line anti-speeding stance when vehicles began to stop at the newly-erected speed limit signs, causing a paralysing snarl-up of traffic. 

‘Back in the 80’s the speed limit was 50 miles an hour – way too fast for a small village like ours, so we campaigned, and succeeded, in getting it reduced.’ explained one long-standing resident.  ‘A few years later we got fed up of our lovely village being used as a rat run to East Grinstead, so we got it reduced again to 40.  I think we got a bit power-crazed after that, because we then got a reduction to 30, then 20 and then 10mph.’

‘A few months ago we thought we’d try for another push as one of our local councillors wanted to get planning permission for a number of luxury holiday cottages along the main route into the village.  On reflection I think it was a step too far as the cars and lorries that still had the temerity to drive through Caniston-St-Xerxes all stopped in their tracks.’ she continued. 

Local inn and community hub The Spaniard’s Arms has been particularly hard hit as customers have been unable to get in or out of the establishment according to the landlord.  ‘At first I thought ‘great, a captive audience’, but as deliveries dried up we started to run out of hand-fried crisps, pesto and halloumi paninis and our fine range of import lagers and my customers started to get nasty.’

The decision has also caused consternation due to the number of impromptu camps that stranded motorists have set up around the village.  ‘The wrong sort of person has started to move in.’ bemoaned the village’s elderly postmistress.  ‘Tradesmen, coloureds – they’ve all pitched their tents on the village green.  If I catch them piddling in the duck pond I’m setting the dogs on them!’

Undaunted, parish councillors have now started a petition to reduce the speed limit even further, demanding that the Highways Agency set a speed limit of minus ten mph.  ‘This will mean that the vehicles currently befouling our leafy lanes will be able to reverse out… er, doesn’t it?’ said a spokesman.

(Written 18 Mar)

Published in: on November 3, 2009 at 4:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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