Maybole trialling 20mph route

Monday saw the introduction of a 20mph speed limit on the A77 through Maybole as part of a scheme to boost road safety.

The town is the first in Scotland to be taking part in a pilot project by Transport Scotland who are also introducing the scheme in Largs, Oban, Biggar and Langholm.

The scheme is in place now but campaigners have long had calls for a bypass for the town.

However, the area’s MSP Adam Ingram says this scheme won’t affect the plans for a bypass which he says are currently in the hands of Scottish Government ministers.

Mr Ingram said: “This is very welcome news for both road users and pedestrians in Maybole.

“Keeping the local community safe whilst ensuring an efficient road network for the area is very important and Transport Scotland have been engaging with the wider community to ensure the implementation of the speed limit is brought forward in a way that reflects local needs.

“Of course this initiative in no way undermines the need for a Maybole Bypass which remains an absolute priority for the local community in the town.

“I understand a report from the Local Public Inquiry held to hear objections to the Bypass plans is currently with Scottish Ministers.

“I expect an announcement to be made that the Bypass will achieve shovel ready status by the end of October at the latest.”

The scheme won’t see fixed speed cameras introduced but police officers with speed guns will be able to enforce the new limit.

Neil Greig of the Institute of Advanced Motorists isn’t convinced this is the answer and urged quicker progress on bypass plans.

He said: “Squeezing long-distance car and lorry traffic through historic village high streets always requires compromise, and these new limits will make things better for residents.

“However, the only long-term solution for each town is a by-pass. In places like Maybole, a by-pass has been talked about for decades and progress must be accelerated.”

Transport Scotland’s Operations Manager Stewart Leggett said: “Safety is a priority for Transport Scotland and managing speed is an important part of our strategy.

“This is the first of the five pilot sites which we expect to improve road safety generally while bringing specific benefits for vulnerable road users, such as older people and cyclists.

“We are pleased that the wider consultation process is now complete in Maybole and will now monitor the benefits it brings to the trunk road network.”

Councillor John McDowall Sustainability & Environment Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said:” I very much welcome this pilot project.

“Maybole has a narrow main street and this coupled with very high volumes of traffic means there are real concerns about road safety.

“I am sure that pedestrians and cyclists will appreciate the new speed restrictions and motorists should understand that the overarching policy is to keep people safe.

“This is an important step forward but raises the issue of a bypass which means HGV’s could avoid the town.

The proposed pilot areas should not require significant engineering or police enforcement to support their operation. The new 20mph area covers much of the A77 main trunk road as it passes through the town.