Ten-year-old Eleanor Bailey posting petition forms through letterboxes at Gresham, asking for support for her campaign for a 20mph speed limit outside the village primary school. Picture: KAREN BETHELL.

Schoolgirl campaigner’s speed limit battle at Gresham

Thursday, January 31, 2013
3.00 PM

A north Norfolk youngster who is campaigning to have the speed limit outside her school reduced has seen her efforts rewarded, after Norfolk County Council agreed to paint new signs to remind drivers to cut their speed.

Concerned about the safety of her fellow Gresham Village Primary School pupils, 10-year-old Eleanor Bailey began campaigning for a 20mph limit, writing to the county council and to north Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, who has offered his support.

“I am worried about the speed of cars going through our village, especially outside my school and I think it is wrong to put children’s lives as risk in this way,” she said.

Norfolk County Council member for children’s services Alison Thomas passed Eleanor’s concerns on to planning and transportation member Graham Plant, who arranged for an inspection of the road outside the school.

While congratulating Eleanor on her efforts, Mr Plant said that the warning signs already in place on the approach to the school, as well as 30mph speed limit, contributed to a “good level of road safety”.

He added that reducing the speed limit would not necessarily reduce the speed of cars, and said limited resources meant the council had to give priority to places where there had already been accidents.

However, the council does plan to paint two new white “slow” signs in the spring and, while Eleanor is delighted to see her efforts rewarded, she has vowed to continue her campaign for a 20mph limit.

“I understand that there are problems with money for the council, but surely the safety of children must come first,” she said.

In spite of being off school after undergoing an eye operation, she has organised a petition, and is planning to post leaflets asking for support through every door in the village.

Her father Arthur, who is a retired lorry driver, has written on Eleanor’s behalf to Mr Plant, asking him to look again at the roads outside the school and reminding him of an accident involving two cars which collided near the school last year.

Congratulating Eleanor on her achievements in persuading the council to take action, Mr Lamb said: “The fact that some drivers will flout the limit is no justification for doing nothing - that would be an argument for having no speed limits! The council should set the appropriate speed for traffic outside the school and, for me, that should be 20mph.”