Concerns over the speed of traffic in Helston means drivers’ actions will soon be recorded.

The town council has agreed to buy two mobile speed activated signs, which flash up the speed limit, every time a vehicle travels past too fast and also record the speeds of everything that passes it, at a cost of around £4,000.

Town and Cornwall councillor Mike Thomas asked for the council to consider the purchase, to “educate” drivers over the speed they are travelling.

He said: “We have occasional signs that Cornwall Council, through CORMAC, put up to assess and gather data, and that data regularly shows that people are not following the speed limits.

“I personally do find that the data signs that come up [with the speed limit] do make me think and address my behaviour; it does make me drive, I feel, in a safer way.”

Councillor Miles Kenchington agreed, saying: “It’s a way of getting a reduction in speed, hopefully, through improved driver behaviour.”

He suggested that one of the signs could go on the bypass that ran past the May Tree and Hellis Wartha, adding: “That seems to be quite a lively speed, especially at night.”

Clodgey Lane and Meneage Road were also among the built up areas that could use them.

Mayor John Martin believed that all the main roads into Helston, from the direction of Penzance, Redruth and the Lizard, as well as Falmouth, had problems with speed.

However, councillor Ronnie Williams said while there was “no question” that speed was a problem in the town, he was doubtful whether such signs worked, believing drivers that wanted to speed would just go elsewhere in the town.

Despite this, the council agreed in principle to buy two signs, subject to a firm quote on cost. The money will be covered by a fund set aside for new traffic regulation orders in the town, which was unable to be spent after all, leaving £5,000 available.

Mr Williams voted against this decision.

Earlier in the meeting the council heard a presentation from Stuart Douglas, of Perranwell Community Speed Watch, and Cornwall Councillor Peter Williams, member for Mabe, St Gluvias and Perranarworthal, about setting up such a scheme.

Mr Williams explained that signs could be in the same place for a maximum of eight weeks.

He told councillors they could buy two signs for £3,659.36 plus VAT, which came with two chargers and four brackets, although clips would have to be bought separately.

In doing some they would be responsible for maintaining the units and keeping them charged, but they could decide the locations they went in and would have unlimited use.

The signs would need to either be put on street lights or, if on a separate pole, these would need to be put on private land, to avoid having to obtain a street regulation order.

Alternatively, the council could go through Cornwall Council to get them from CORMAC, which would take care of all maintenance and data retrieval – but it would cost £17,000 per unit, for a four-year period.

Councillor Dave Potter questioned whether it was possible to share the cost – and therefore equipment – with another parish or town council, but Mr Williams recommended Helston “go alone.”

Mr Williams said the equipment records the speed of every vehicle that goes past, in both directions, not just the way it is facing.

This would inform the council of particular times of day when there might be more of an issue.

In an information pack passed on to the council, it is recommended that signs display the speed limit, rather than the actual speed of the passing vehicle, to prevent ‘boy race type behaviour’ and some drivers trying to beat their score.