‘Speed camera’ not what it seems

By Liam O'Callaghan in Community News

WHAT appears to be a newly installed speed camera in Itton has been giving some speedy drivers a fright, but all is not what it seems.

The yellow box on top of a back pole is actually a bird box put up by Itton residents Alan and Kay Oakes, but its striking resemblance to a speed camera is no accident.

The couple put up the box as a helpful reminder to drivers of the 30mph speed limit through the village.

Mrs Oakes said: “Alan is a little bit off the wall, so we put it up for a bit of giggle and if he can do anything for a cheap laugh, he will. But from my perspective, why I would support it, is that it just makes people think.”

Mr Oakes said: “If the speed you are traveling at is reasonable then you can see it is not real, but people that are really flying, they just catch that little glimpse of yellow and it makes them think. It is just a little reminder really.”

This is not the first time they have had the idea. About eight years ago, they lived in Chepstow on the A48 near the Bulwark Road and put up a similar box.

After originally receiving a good response, including from the police, they were forced to take it down after a large number of complaints, but they could see it working.

Mr Oakes said: “The amount of people you saw stamping on the breaks meant that it was making them think, my gosh there’s a speed camera.”

For the couple if all the box achieves is raising awareness about the speed limit or stopping one crash then it is doing it’s job.

Mr Oakes said: “The majority of people are reasonable but like Kay said you do get people who have left work too late or left home too late or whatever the reasons are.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to say I never break the speed limit but when you get it through little places like this where there are kids and animals and whatnot you just have to be aware.”

Mrs Oakes said: “We have our lad and there are a couple of children in the village and they have to cross the road to go to school. You think just that one car which is doing 50 or 60 and the kids are crossing and not really concentrating and they are dead.”

In addition to their box, Mr and Mrs Oakes said the 30mph signs entering the town could be made more visible to help enforce the speed limit but at the moment, their presence seems to be doing the job for the moment.

Mrs Oakes said: “We have people tooting and pointing and laughing as they are going by. We have had a quite positive response to it.”

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