Residents in Cambridge will get the power to change speed limits near their homes – if they put up cash for the work.
Neighbours living in a street or village will be able to investigate putting in restrictions themselves under a new policy from Cambridgeshire County Council.
It could pave the way for changes in the speed limit that would normally fail to meet the authority’s own funding criteria.
The council has taken a more flexible approach after heeding calls from communities upset they cannot get changes made despite accidents occurring.
But the plans have met with a mixed reaction. While empowering communities to get work done, critics say it is the role of the council to do such work – and provide the money.
Cllr Mac McGuire, cabinet member for highways and access, said the new policy would give “greater local determination” of speed limits.
He said residents would have to “do all the things we would do”.
“They have to speak to the police. They also have to be willing to pick up the essential cost of doing this,” he said.
Cllr McGuire said the council would be on hand to advise any group wanting to pursue a change in speed limit and the council would undertake the traffic regulation order, which would ensure a public consultation to gauge support.
Schemes would need to be advertised and people would have the opportunity to object, as is the case when the council brings in changes to speed limits.
He said any group which puts in speed reduction measures, such as flashing signs, would need to be responsible for the “whole life cost” of the scheme.
A simple scheme involving changes to the numbers on existing signs at either end of a small village or a street, for example, could cost hundreds of pounds but a more complex scheme might cost thousands.