WINCHESTER city centre’s unenforced 20mph speed limit has cost taxpayers £90,000.

The cap, which was introduced to the city centre and parts of Hyde in August, was funded by a government grant to Hampshire County Council.

Police representatives revealed that they would not enforce the limit at a Winchester Town Forum meeting last month, surprising some city councillors who assumed otherwise.

Cllr Dominic Hiscock told the Hampshire Chronicle it was a “blooming mystery” why police will not enforce the cap but defended the £90,000 outlay.

“The streets of Winchester were designed for horse and cart,” he said. “They were not designed for cars and lorries going round at 30mph.

“The difference it makes to people living in the city and visitors is huge.”

Tory councillor Ian Tait said that the force was never “definitive” about prosecuting speeding drivers but he had been told at community policing meetings that it would not be a priority.

“It was my understanding that the police were never intending to enforce the 20mph speed limit,” he said.

“The Liberal Democrats may say they didn’t know that but they obviously weren’t asking the right questions.”

Cllr Sue Nelmes said that police knew the Liberal Democrats were “fighting” to introduce the limit but never told them it wouldn’t be enforced.

“We’ve been working towards this for some years,” she said. “To find out now, when we’ve already won all of the battles ... is somewhat disheartening.

“People have got better ways of wasting their time than doing something that won’t be enforced.”

She assumed that police would prosecute speeders, she added, because the county council won the grant as part of a government drive to introduce 20mph limits nationwide.

Cllr Jim Maynard said: “The basis of bringing rules in is not whether police are going to prosecute people. The basis of bringing rules in is because the rules are a good thing.

“I would expect them to enforce it if there was a problem with speeding.”

Tory councillor Robert Sanders said the Liberal Democrats had wasted taxpayers’ money with a “political imperative”.

“Shock horror,” he said. “The Lib Dems insist on implementing it without the evidence, and now we have the muddle.

“All you need is some boy to get knocked down and you’re on the wrong side of the argument.”