SPEED cameras on a busy main road are proving their worth – but a proper pedestrian crossing is still needed to serve St Ann’s Chapel and Drakewalls.

This is the verdict of Neighbourhood Speedwatch champion and parish councillor John Wells, as he gave a round up of news on the roads from around his ward and the wider Calstock parish.

Reporting to a full meeting of the council, Cllr Wells said that the cameras were clearly doing their job to deter would-be speeders: over the previous fortnight, no one had been observed breaking the limit through the village.

“It shows the system works. There are around 500 cars per hour going past the checkpoints, and in the last two weeks, there’s been no reported speeding. We are also getting less abuse!”

Generally the Speedwatch volunteers are out monitoring twice a week. Requests have been made by local people for further checkpoints on other parts of the A390 as well as in Cox Park, Albaston and Delaware Road: the viability of this would depend on volunteers coming forward, said Cllr Wells.

He said that the parish council together with Cornwall Councillor Dorothy Kirk had fought long and hard to have the speed cameras installed. Initially having been told by the local authority that there were under 1300 cars passing through each day, and that “speed cameras were not needed because parked cars slow the traffic”, the council went to the police, whose data suggested that the road was travelled by many thousands more vehicles than this.

“Our Speedwatch checkpoints are recording 7-800 cars per hour in the summer. When I showed Cornwall Council the published police data they started taking it seriously. We got the two sets of cameras, and along with a place in Exeter we are one of two trial sites in the country for these.”

The ‘all-singing, all dancing’ cameras can also detect seatbelt and phone use, says Cllr Wells, who says that since their installation last summer, local people have given a lot of positive feedback, including that cars are slowing down to allow people to cross – something he said would not have been heard of previously when the road through St Ann’s “was used as a race track”.

The cameras were one part of a £200k suite of nine pedestrian and road safety measures for St Ann’s and Drakewalls, including speed limit changes, road markings, and footway improvements, drawn up in 2021 by Cormac with input from the council and local people. Most of these are still yet to appear, said Cllr Wells, despite being promised by January.

Among these is a refuge in the road for those crossing over the A390 to get to Delaware Primary Academy and the pre-school. But Cllr Wells says that a proper crossing – ideally a zebra crossing – is what’s needed in this location.

At a recent Devon and Cornwall Police advocacy meeting, Cllr Wells raised the issue directly with police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez.

“We don’t feel that a refuge, at the best part of £20,000, is the best solution. We have around 250 more houses in the ward now. We know that it can take a teenager about eight seconds to cross an average width road, and for an OAP, it’s 17-20 seconds. We have a junior school and a pre-school in that area. The only safe way of crossing at the moment is when a lollipop person is down by the junior school.”