Volunteers Susan Dodgson and Stephen Beardsall conducting a speedwatch operation
Volunteers Susan Dodgson and Stephen Beardsall conducting a speedwatch operation

A QUARTER of cars heading out of Barnard Castle along the A67 were caught travelling over the limit in a recent speedwatch operation.

The monthly Police and Communities Together (Pact) meeting was told that while a speed activated warning sign for those driving into town along Darlington Road had resulted in traffic slowing down, the opposite was true for those heading in the other direction, where there is no deterrent.

The meeting was told the speedwatch volunteers had been out late morning and of 120 cars checked during the one-hour operation, 30 had been clocked going at more than 35mph – enough to trigger a warning letter. Others had been recorded as travelling between 30mph and 35mph.

Speedwatch volunteer Mandy Watson said cars had been going as fast as 46mph as they raced out of town.

The issue was raised at Pact on the grounds of safety to both road users and pedestrians.

It was pointed out that stretch of road was now busier than ever as the result of the new estate at Castle Vale.

Its junction with Darlington Road is the only entry and exit point into and from the estate.

Ms Watson said feedback from residents in the area to speedwatch had been positive. “Everyone who stops to speak to us says it is really good to see us,” she said.

“From the [Co-op] garage, they just put their foot down and don’t stop. It feels like there is something nasty waiting to happen.”

One resident of Castle Vale present at the meeting added: “It’s a bad bit of road. I always walk down to the next bus stop. It is not safe standing at the top bus stop.”

PCSO Darren Miles urged the speedwatch volunteers to continue with their checks and if the statistics continued to show high numbers of motorists speeding, police could “take it up to the next level”.

This could include traffic police being called in or one of the local beat officers deployed with a speed gun.

Ms Watson said all that was really needed was a speed warning sign similar to that on the other side of the road.

It was suggested approaching Marwood Parish Council – which covers the Darlington Road area – for help.

It was agreed to make speeding along Darlington Road a Pact priority for the coming month.

This will see an increase in police patrols.