COULD the majority of roads in the city be restricted to 20mph?

James Batho of Winchester and District Speed Watch is campaigning for just that – and city councillors are backing him.

During a town forum, Mr Batho shared his vision of slower roads, more space for walking and cycling, and a safer travelling environment.

He said: “My vision for Winchester is a bold one, and prioritises safe travel. I’m calling on you to consider a default 20mph speed limit within the town boundaries with the exception of roads designed as radial or connecting routes, which should be limited at 30mph; along with plans to reallocate road space for cycling.

“This will provide a clear state of intent to all who want safer travel.”

Mr Batho referred to a study by Highways England, which shows that roads limited to 20mph have less serious injuries and more ‘active’ travel.

He added: “Councils and counties are feeling the benefits of reducing speed limits not only through less deaths, but through public health, less noise pollution and more healthy travelling.”

Cllr Martin Tod, cabinet member responsible for highways, said that he supported the campaign.

He believes the 20mph speed limits would supplement the council’s idea for walking and cycling zones in the city centre.

“Some areas have this speed limit in the city but it’s less effective when people drive in and out of 20 and 30s. If we make it clear we are changing the norm it would be very helpful,” he said.

Hampshire County Council, responsible for the roads in the district, has been considering similar speed limits in recent documents.

The Winchester Walking Strategy, which was approved by the town forum but is yet to be implemented, also has plans to limit roads to 20mph.

Cllr Fiona Mather aired her concerns on the matter.

She said: "I've never had anything against this, I've even advocated for them. My question is about the widespread support for them.

"I remember sitting down after consulting on speed limit changes in the past, and I saw a map of responses for 'yes and no'.

"It was very marginal on whether we had the mandate. And when the measures were put in, I got a lot of feedback from people who didn't like them at all."

Councillors Liz Hutchison, Anne Weir, Dominic Hiscock and Kathleen Becker all said they supported the campaign.