CITY-wide 20mph speed limits came a step closer to reality on Monday (February 25).

At a traffic committee meeting, and following public consultation, civic chiefs gave the go ahead for a scheme in Highcliffe and Winnall.

City Councillor Brian Collin, also county councillor for the area, has long championed 20mph limits for Winchester.

He said: “I'm delighted to support this scheme and I attended the county executive member's decision day when consultation on these schemes received his approval and I spoke in favour of it then.”

In January Mel Kendal, deputy county council leader and executive member for environment and transport, said: “If these schemes are to be successful and have the potential for being introduced in other areas, it is essential for us to establish that we have the support of local people for implementing 20mph speed restrictions.”

Public consultation was seen as vital because the project depends on residents respecting the limits.

Since police are unlikely to be able to divert resources to enforce them, volunteers to monitor motorists' speeds are also crucial.

Cllr Collin said: “We've had a volunteer from the area to manage the Community SpeedWatch programme and volunteers for the team are reaching critical mass.”

The Chronicle reported last year that county chiefs have earmarked £200,000 for ten schemes in residential areas across the county, including Stanmore, Medstead and the Cherbourg Road area of Eastleigh.

Winchester has a further £150,000 from the local sustainable transport fund, available from April.

But some councillors have been more cautious in welcoming the scheme.

Cllr Ian Tait said: “I'm not against 20mph speed limits, but one of the issues here is woe betide tide anyone who argues against them - politically it's a very dangerous route to go down. I think there needs to be a proper evaluation as to what we're actually getting out of this.

“Going down Winnall Manor Road at 20mph, it's a struggle to stay at 20mph. We just need to be sure we're making a meaningful gain from this.”