Community seeks lower speed limit

A VICAR is today spearheading a campaign to reduce the speed limit in Whitton following the tragic death of a schoolgirl.

A VICAR is today spearheading a campaign to reduce the speed limit in Whitton following the tragic death of a schoolgirl.

Ten-year-old Joanne Dockett was killed in a road accident in Byron Road, Ipswich, last month and today Rev Andrew Dotchin, the vicar of the Whitton parish, has vowed that a similar tragedy must be avoided in the future.

He is calling on a default speed limit of 20 miles per hour to be put into operation in residential areas around the estate and plans to make his case heard at various meetings in the community.

He already has the backing of Whitton Residents' Association and now needs to get the go-ahead from Ipswich Borough Council.

There is already a 20mph speed limit and road humps in Shakespeare Road.

Mr Dotchin said: “I hope that our local authorities will be taking action to make our roads safer and we will never see another child involved in an accident on our streets.

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“In the four years since I have been living in the parish, two children have been knocked over in Defoe Road and there have been a large number of near-misses.

“The week Joanne died was the 16th anniversary of another person who was killed in a road accident in Shakespeare Road.

“Drivers have got to realise that children are children and they have to be extra careful. Parents should also continue to educate their children to be aware of the dangers on our roads.

“We should be encouraging people to obey the existing speed limit of 30mph and also look at getting people to go slower. We don't want another tragedy like this.”

The inquest into Joanne's death has yet to be completed, but no one is facing any police charges as a result of the tragedy - the car involved was not exceeding the speed limit.

The community has also been calling for a crossing in nearby Meredith Road for some time and this issue has become more urgent since the fatal accident.

Judith Bourne, vice-chairman of the Whitton Residents Association, said: “This issue has been ongoing for some time and it is always on our agenda but it has been brought more forward because of Joanne. Byron Road and Spenser Road are used as a cut-through so people can go quite fast down there.

“We tried to get a crossing patrol near Whitton Primary School but because most parents walk their children to school, it wasn't deemed that there was enough risk. Something needs to be done.”

Do you agree that the speed limit in that area should be lowered? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

Paul West, Ipswich Borough Council's portfolio holder for transport, said: “The proposal for a crossing in Meredith Road will be on our list of desirable schemes that we put to Suffolk County Council during October as part of the Local Transport Plan. This is the amount of money the county council gets from the government for the whole of the county.

“Reducing the speed limit is another plea we will put on the list. As long as we can sit down and decide where they have requested these signs to go, we can put this forward.”