Cat deaths spark community action over speeding in Chichester

A community drive to tackle speeding in Chichester has been launched after three pet cats were fatally hit by vehicles in the space of four weeks.

Paula Chatfield, committee member of  Parkland's Residents' Association
Paula Chatfield, committee member of Parkland's Residents' Association

Members of Parklands Residents’ Association are hoping to secure two Speed Indicator Devices which will be used in the Chichester City Council area.

Committee member Paula Chatfield, of Sherbourne Road, said the cat deaths sparked a community conversation, which revealed ‘a sense of fear’ among residents.

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Her beloved pet, who she described as ‘a member of our family’, was the third cat in the area to be killed, with the driver failing to stop.

She said residents felt their lives were being ‘dominated by the few people who choose to drive in way that makes the people around them feel unsafe’.

“They may be completely oblivious to the effect they are having,” she said. “People think speeding is a victimless crime, but actually there are consequences.”

People were scared to let their children out in the streets near their homes, while others were put off getting pets because of safety concerns.

Ms Chatfield said things had got worse since the end of the first lockdown, perhaps because there were less parked cars on the roads, resulting in more speeding.

A question faced the community: “Are we just going to accept that this is something that is being done to us?” she said. “What could we do that would bring about positive change?”

The resident’s association decided to take action and apply for Speed Indicator Devices in the community.

These mobile devices, which are mounted onto poles at a specific location for a maximum of two weeks, flash drivers’ speeds to remind them of the speed limit and show a message: ‘Slow Down’ or ‘Thank You’.

Ms Chatfield said: “Your speed is effectively taken out of your car. Anyone who happens to be around can see what speed you’re choosing to do.

“The device does cause people to modify their behaviour.”

They also capture anonymous data about how many drivers speed, when and by how much, which can then be used to identify any patterns and indicate whether further measures need to be put in place.

Chichester City Council has agreed to fund one device and a SpaceHive fundraising page has now been set up where people can pledge a donation towards a second.

A total of £3,400 will need to be raised by December 2 for the project to proceed.

Ms Chatfield urged residents contribute. “If everybody interested gave just a little, we should be able to pull this off,” she said.

The residents’ association is also asking people to suggest locations where the devices could be used.