Residents of a small village in Berkshire are outraged at being asked to lend support to a local traffic calming scheme. Villagers in Lower-cum-Topley have protested for many years at the volume of traffic that passes through their quaint little community, but the local authority claims that it does not have the funds to deal with the problem.
"It all comes down to bumps," said councillor Gerry Pavement. "Speed bumps, to be precise, which is the most effective method of controlling the traffic flow through the village. We used to get all our bumps from a company in Stevenage, but they went out of business some time ago, and now we have to source them from Sweden. As you can imagine, this is much more expensive and a combination of this factor and our shrinking budgets means that, sadly, our hands are tied."
The council have offered a solution, and it is this which has got the local community up in arms. They are asking residents to volunteer as 'temporary speed bumps'. This entails residents lying in the road at key points through the village and allowing motorists to drive over them. Mr Pavement has assured villagers that this method of traffic control is not as hazardous as many people think. In fact, during the fifties this technique was frequently practised by members of the local constabulary, which is where we get the term 'sleeping policeman'. According to Mr Pavement, many officers found it quite relaxing and took to lying in the middle of the road on their days off.
But residents have not been easily persuaded. Particularly not 78-year-old Mrs Greta Slackbarrow, who took part in a trial scheme earlier in the year. "I didn't mind some of the smaller cars driving over my head," she told us. "And to be honest, most of the buses weren't a problem, although occasionally they did tickle a bit. But what I really didn't care for was the tyre marks on my best cardigan - made me the laughing stock at the local church crochet circle, I can tell you."