Amongst other things…..the cameras are coming!

From the many comments and complaints received we are well aware that many residents are seriously concerned about road and pedestrian safety along the A390 through both St. Ann’s Chapel & Drakewalls.

Although we have been toiling away behind the scenes we have not been able to inform anyone of what we have been doing…. Until now, that is.

Just over a year ago Dorothy Kirk, our local Cornwall Councillor, asked Calstock Parish Councillors and members of the community to support her in her longstanding, solitary campaign to obtain funding to improve safety on the A390 along this stretch of road.

As a result of her persistence and determination Cornwall Council eventually allocated £150,000 for this purpose.

In response to Dorothy’s plea for support 8 of our Parish Councillors & 3 members of the  St. Ann’s Chapel Community Group all turned up mob handed last October (2019) to back her at a Caradon Community Network meeting in Callington.

At that decision-making meeting she fought for, and secured, unanimous support for an additional £50,000 grant to add to the £150,000 already promised. This extra sum has just finally been approved, after inevitable delays caused by the pandemic.

In an attempt to ensure that local safety concerns were co-ordinated and addressed Calstock Parish Council set up an A390 working party. This is chaired by me, working alongside Dorothy, as both Cornwall Councillor and Parish Councillor for Gunnislake ward, together with several other councillors and members of the public.

So what have we achieved?

Well… following on from the £200,000 promised, we’ve now secured agreement with CORMAC and Cornwall Highways relating to several road and pedestrian safety issues:

  1. The St. Ann’s Chapel Community Group has been fund raising to install village gates at the western end of the village. These have now been approved, and will be installed as part of this current project.

Not the most important thing you might say; BUT they are known to have a positive, calming effect on through traffic.

  1. The 40mph sign will be moved back some distance towards Callington (although the new location has still to be agreed). The gap between the current 40 and the 30 signs near White Rocks was felt to be too short to have a positive effect on reducing vehicle speed on the incline as the road drops down into St. Ann’s Chapel.
  2. ‘Dragons’ Teeth’ will be painted on the road as vehicles approach the 30 sign. Again, this is proven to have a positive effect elsewhere in calming ‘through’ traffic.

Although very positive, these first three actions may not have much of an impact on some of the local brainless speedsters we are currently plagued with.

However, these actions should all help generally, as it is now estimated that more than 40% of the vehicles travelling along the A390 is just passing through.

  1. A central refuge will be installed between the All Saints turning on the North side and the bus shelter on the South side to help pedestrians cross the road. We pushed hard for a zebra crossing here, but a refuge is at least something for now.
  2. 2 further new refuges will be installed:
  3. one on the Honicombe Lane where it meets the A390 by the hairdresser’s, and
  4. a second one near the pre-school at the top of the hill going down to Albaston.

Both of these new refuges will hopefully benefit the increasing number of adults in the village who take children to either or both of the primary- and pre-schools.

(Wainhomes have to install a crossing on the A390 near the pre-school. We understand that this was a condition of them being given planning approval for Tamar Meadows.)

Now, turning to an issue dear to a lot of peoples’ hearts, that of speeding:

Apart from a slight ‘kink’ in the road by the Rifle, the A390 from Sevenstones until it bends in Drakewalls is reputed to be one of the longest straight stretches of road in Cornwall.

Yet, despite the serious need to remind drivers they’re in a 30 mph zone, we can’t do it! The 2003 Road Traffic Act states that you can’t have 30 mph repeater signs in built-up areas where there are streetlights less than 200 yards apart. Stupid, but that’s the law.

Combine this virtually straight stretch of road with the lack of 30mph repeater signs and we basically have a long, dangerous race track with no real visual means of controlling speed!

As part of this new safety initiative we’re going to have a couple of the digital flashing ‘30’ signs in St. Ann’s. Apparently, they’re legal, but fixed ‘30’ repeater signs aren’t. Go figure!

Still… every little helps, as they say.

Again, while they will probably be ignored by the local idiotic speedsters, they will hopefully have an effect on the increasingly high volume of through traffic I mentioned earlier.

All the above may be nice, I hear you say, but what about the constant issue of the lunatics who drive at ridiculously dangerous speeds through the area?

Well….for a start, some of you may have noticed that we have had police camera vans lurking at various places along the road in St. Ann’s and Drakewalls on several occasions recently.

Believe it or not, this is a hugely significant breakthrough for us locally!

Until our Cornwall Councillor Dorothy Kirk hammered home the message (at County level) about the dangers of our road, the nearest Health & Safety approved police camera van location was in East Taphouse, more than 20 miles away on the other side of Liskeard.

Now that it has finally has been accepted that we have an ongoing problem they are coming our way more often. We have also had a few police initiatives where they have been using their radar guns locally; most notably the major exercise at the western end of St. Ann’s one Friday evening at the end of September.

We have been promised more of both of these types of operations. We can only hope so!

I’ve saved the best piece of big news until last:

In early 2021, subject to them being signed off by Cornwall Council, we should FINALLY be getting several fixed position, permanent speed cameras placed strategically along the A390 through St. Ann’s & Drakewalls.

We have asked for the new ones which cover both sides of the road; but frankly, anything will be better than nothing.

In addition to the cameras, last December, we applied to start up and co-ordinate a local ‘Community Speedwatch’ team. These are springing up all over Cornwall. The 18 or so initiatives already operating in Cornwall have already begun to prove themselves to be worthwhile.

We hope to report ‘Speedwatch’ progress in due course. Once we have our scheme approved and underway we will be looking for volunteers to help make it work.

And finally, Devon & Cornwall police have been running another scheme called ‘Operation Snap’ for about 18 months now.

Anyone can take a video of driver stupidity or recklessness and submit it to the Operation Snap team for their attention.

At the last Cornwall Road Safety forum we attended (virtually), we were told that nearly 400 cases had already been successfully prosecuted from evidence submitted by the general public.

For more information on this excellent scheme just go online to:

Have a good Christmas and a much safer New Year….We hope.

John Wells

Parish Councillor for Calstock Parish’s Delaware Ward (which includes St. Ann’s Chapel, Drakewalls and Albaston) & Chair of the Parish’s A390 Working Party.