Development management answers: Is traffic speed survey request reasonable?

Q My client's development includes a new access onto an A road with a 40mph speed restriction. We can just about achieve the visibility splays required in each direction by the Manual for Streets....

However, the highway authority is asking for a traffic speed survey on the basis that it believes the actual speed of traffic using the road is higher. I am resisting undertaking the survey because it seems wholly unreasonable to expect my client to design his scheme to accommodate drivers breaking the law. As the achievable visibility splays are compliant with the legal speed limit, can the local planning authority reasonably refuse the application?  DH

A Planning authorities take into account actual speeds when determining applications rather than just the legal limit. Actual speeds reached are frequently discussed. If traffic is speeding, it would be unreasonable to put innocent parties at risk. So if traffic exceeds the speed limit on this road, the council’s attitude is reasonable. However, in an appeal decision from south Wales last year (DCS Number 400-021-379), a development of 50 homes was allowed on the edge of a village despite council concerns over safety at the site in terms of junction arrangements and traffic speeds. The road adjoining the site had a 40mph speed limit, but data demonstrated typical speeds of around 57mph in both directions. As the junction had good forward visibility in both directions, there was no record of accidents near the site and enforcement of speed limits is a police matter, the inspector concluded that the proposal was not likely to have an unacceptable adverse impact on highway safety. John Harrison


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