LIVES are being put at risk because speed limits in residential areas have not been reduced, according to councillors in Colchester.

And it could be more than a year before 20mph zones are introduced.

Despite cross-party support at Colchester Council and a groundswell of support from residents, Essex County Council is refusing to agree.

Councillors have been angered by the news a pilot scheme is taking place in Chelmsford and not Colchester.

Martin Hunt, councillor responsible for street services, said: “We don’t have the power to do it. The county council made it clear it would not fund any further proposals until such time as it heard the results of the experiments in about a year, so we are stuck.

“Chelmsford can get almost anything Colchester can’t.”

Paul Smith, councillor responsible for finances, added: “It seems everyone in Colchester wants to do it, and we are prevented.”

Dennis Willetts, deputy leader of the Tories at Colchester Council, said the council should look at alternatives. He said: “I back the case where local people and communities should be directing what happens in their areas. It is a hazard for their children and they have to deal with the aftermath of speeding motorists.”

Residents in Colchester have already taken to the streets to show their support for reduced speed.

Essex Police has objected due to a lack of resources to effectively monitor the speeds.

Essex County Council is monitoring the situation but has said it has to prioritise funding and cannot commit to anything at the moment.