SPEEDING drivers who ignore the new 20mph limit in Winchester city centre will escape prosecution, councillors heard.

The limit in the city centre and parts of Hyde will not be enforced by police, a Winchester Town Forum meeting heard on Wednesday (Sep 24).

Speed could instead be monitored by volunteers with no enforcement powers through community Speedwatch schemes.

Belinda Kingsley, of Hampshire Constabulary, said that police could visit speeding “hot-spots” but would not enforce the limit.

She said: “They can go out with the Speedwatch teams, but you’re not going to get enforcement taking place. My understanding is we don’t enforce 20mph limits. Speedwatch is a deterrent”

Motorists caught by Speedwatch receive a letter informing them of their speed, with repeat offences culminating in a verbal warning from a police community support officer (PCSO).

Cllr Ian Tait said: “What are we trying to achieve if the police are not going to enforce virtually everyone speeding? What have we achieved with that?

“They could be sending out thousands of letters a week. It doesn’t work.”

Ms Kingsley said she was happy to take councillors’ concerns about enforcement to the Road Policing Unit.

The reduction from 30mph was designed to cut carbon emissions and encourage more people to walk or cycle to work.

Cllr Fiona Mather said: “It’s very early days. It works with me, I’m driving more slowly.”

Cllr Chris Pines said: “It is working, speeds are coming down. That must be the case. I have certainly observed that.”

He added that Speedwatch volunteers, who primarily operate in 30 and 40mph zones outside of the city centre, could join forces to monitor the new 20mph zone.

After the meeting, Cllr Mather said Winchester College is interested in adopting the limit in the streets surrounding its campus.

She added that she had received more messages from communities wishing to adopt the limit themselves than complaints about the current scheme.