New traffic lights and one-way scheme for London Rd and Borough Lane in Saffron Walden – R4U appalled by scheme

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) is appalled by the latest traffic scheme by UDC and ECC that will push more traffic through Saffron Walden Town Centre because of the installation of traffic signals and a one-way system on London Road and Borough Lane.

New one-way system and traffic lights

ECC have announced their intent to undertake the next phase of UDC’s changes to Saffron Walden roads to allow more large-scale homebuilding on the east of town. The first phases of their plan introduced traffic lights at Mount Pleasant Rd and no-parking clearways across the town. Now they intend to replace the mini roundabouts at the junctions of Newport Rd and London Rd with traffic lights, and put no-entry signs to stop vehicles going up Borough Lane. The effect of this will be to send all traffic along London Rd towards the town centre, or along two-sides of a triangle up Debden Rd. However the maximum weight of articulated HGVs are 26-44t and the old railway bridge on Debden Rd is a maximum of 22t, so many HGVs will now have no option but to go through the town centre.

Same old discredited scheme

John Lodge (R4U)John Lodge
R4U Chair & Leader UDC

R4U chair and district councillor John Lodge said “As part of paving the way for even more housing estates on the east of Saffron Walden, the UDC leadership, through ECC, intend to replace the mini-roundabouts at the bottom of Borough Lane with traffic lights and no-entry signs. This will force all through-traffic along London Rd towards the town centre, and make what can be already long queues even longer. A few years ago these same proposals were discredited and ridiculed. There is no evidence that this scheme is needed – it was an appalling idea then and it still is now.”

Queues, pollution and rat-runs

Cllr John Lodge continued “Not only will it create longer queues, it’ll have worse knock-on effects elsewhere. The shortest route for HGVs to crow town will be down the High St, and not along Mount Pleasant and Peaslands Roads. Not only will that route now be longer, it has a back-on-itself right turn from London Rd to Debden Rd, an uphill start at the Mount Pleasant traffic lights, followed by a left turn. Statistically HGVs are most dangerous when they turn left as they undercut cyclists and can clip pavements – and this is a busy school walking route. But Debden Rd has a 22t weight limit on the old railway bridge anyway, which limits HGV use. So this one-way system will absolutely just push more traffic through the town centre, and spike pollution that is already at illegal levels at other major junctions. Elsewhere those trying to avoid the new lights will create rat-runs of Rowntree Way to Winstanley Rd and Summer Hill Rd. It will be a mess. R4U will vigorously oppose this scheme as it is unneeded, polluting, dangerous and not in the interests of the town’s residents.”

Zero public consultation & Town Council bypassed

Cllr Lodge concluded “What is apparent is that UDC decided to ram these things through as soon as there was no longer R4U representation at County Hall. Worse still, ECC and UDC are providing no public consultation for their plans, and they’ve now changed things to prevent any veto by the town council. In cosying up to developers, they clearly decided to disregard the needs of Saffron Walden residents. Next we’ll hear that they intend to back proposals from Kier to build more homes on the east, even though they’ve been twice rejected already. What is their motivation for being so destructive to our town? They seem to have forgotten they work for us. Saffron Walden’s new county councillor can’t be silent any more. Is he going to oppose his party colleagues? It’s time for him to decide if he’s Town or Tory.”

You can send your comments to ECC and UDC

Since UDC and ECC are providing no public consultation, those concerned about the scheme may want to directly email UDC Council Leader Howard Rolfe (cllrrolfe@uttlesford.gov.uk) and Saffron Walden Essex County Councillor John Moran (cllr.john.moran@essex.gov.uk).


R4U is appalled by dangerous scheme that will push more traffic through the already polluted centre of Saffron Walden

About Residents for Uttlesford

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) is the local independent party of north-west Essex towns and villages. Formed in 2014 by a number of residents’ groups, the party believes that on local issues residents should decide, not Westminster parties. R4U’s success has been based on the desire to give local people a voice and implement long range strategic and sustainable plans for their area.

R4U leads Uttlesford District Council (UDC). In its first election in 2015 it became the second party at UDC. In the May 2019 R4U gained majority control of UDC winning two-thirds of the seats. The result delivered the biggest loss of seats by any UK Conservative controlled council in the UK. In 2021 the party won half the Essex County Council seats in Uttlesford district.

R4U also leads Saffron Walden Town Council, where under its stewardship the council has rebuilt finances, invested in community assets, and won multiple awards, including the best run council in Essex. It is a minority party on Great Dunmow Town Council.

Residents for Uttlesford can be found on the web at www.residents4u.org.