COUNCILLORS in Bere Alston are calling for a 20mph speed limit in their village following a spate of three accidents in the past month.

Bere Ferrers parish councillor Peter Crozier, who is also the authority’s representative on West Devon Borough Council, said he and his colleagues believed that speed was a factor in all three accidents.

His comments came after an incident on May 6, when a single-vehicle road accident at the Down in Bere Alston left a person described by police as a young man with ‘potentially life-changing injuries’.

Cllr Crozier said two other road accidents had happened previously to that one, one involving a car ploughing into a garden and another involving a bus.

He said: ‘Having three accidents in the past month is unusual, because normally we would expect maybe one or two a year.

‘I don’t think people realise how much damage an accident can cause at even low speeds, because that potentially can tip a car over.’

Cllr Crozier said one of the problems facing Bere Alston was that much of its housing was designed in the 18th century for people working in the area as a result of a mining boom and were not designed for 21st century traffic.

He said some of the village centre streets were without pavements, or they were very narrow and residents were at risk trying to negotiate them.

Cllr Crozier said the village at present had a 30mph speed limit in force, but Bere Ferrers parish council had asked Devon County Council for 20mph zone.

He said that had happened after the parish council, which includes Bere Alston in its boundaries, had been asked by the county council if there were any speed schemes they wanted installing.

He said they were aware that the county council worked to a criteria in applying speed limits and if an area did not meet them, they did not get their request granted.

Cllr Crozier said, however, accidents were only reported to the police if they were regarded as sufficiently serious.

He said there had been ‘four or five’ accidents alone at one set of crossroads which had ‘blind’ corners in the past ten years.

‘Certainly some people when they step off the pavement are taking their lives in their hands. You may be reasonably mobile, but there are elderly people who aren’t and you have people who can’t hear too well.

‘Then you have children who might suddenly decided to cross the road — you can never be quite sure what children are going to do.’

Cllr Crozier said part of the problem was the increasing volume of traffic in the area and added: ‘Around 40 years ago a lot of houses didn’t have cars, but now many of them have got at least two and sometimes three.

‘At some times of the day, on all the exit roads from the village, there are people who drive far too fast for the roads.’

Other campaigns to introduce 20mph zones in some areas Camelford and Falmouth and Penryn in Cornwall, while Tavistock councillor Mandy Ewings has called for a similar scheme to be introduced to slow up traffic.