DRIVERS around Cirencester are being encouraged to slow down as residents begin a campaign to cut the speed limit on the town’s ring road by almost half.

Chesterton resident Barrie Mills, 73, wrote to Mayor of Cirencester Councillor Joe Harris asking how speed could be tackled in the town.

“There had been at least two serious accidents along the Tetbury Road and even a fatality in the last few years,” said Mr Mills. “My main concern is trying to join a roundabout when traffic is flying around it at top speed.”

“I firmly believe that a much lower speed limit should be introduced and I believe that it could be achieved at fairly limited expense, as it should only involve changing a small number of speed restriction signs.”

Cllr Harris has now joined forces with Gloucestershire County Cllr Paul Hodgkinson to deal with the issue.

They both agree that the current 70mph speed limit on the ring road, which connects all the main roundabouts in the town, should be reduced to 40mph.

“If we can just get traffic moving slower then it will flow better,” said Cllr Harris.

He added that if the traffic was slower, the town council would be able to cut back the verges and hedges on the road and roundabouts, saving around £10,000 a year.

“If traffic was slower we would not have to block off the roads before trimming the verges because it is not as dangerous,” he said.

Cllr Hodgkinson said he was going to bring up the issue of road safety in Cirencester at the September meeting of Gloucestershire County Council.

“The Cotswolds have the most dangerous roads in the whole of the county,” he said.

“This area is an accident blackspot.”

Richard Holmes also lives in the town but is more concerned about how the current high speed limit may affect the amphitheatre masterplan.

The Roman amphitheatre, situated next to Cirencester Hospital, will soon be undergoing a transformation.

Cirencester Town Council and group Aqiva, of which Richard is a part, are working hard to make the area more accessible to visitors and also more interesting culturally, environmentally and historically.

“The concern is that the access point into the amphitheatre from town is a big problem with the speed of cars on the dual carriageway,” said Richard.

“Plus it means that fast traffic might impact on the quiet, peaceful enjoyment of the new amphitheatre.”