To support and voice residents’ concerns, R4U has filed a formal objection with the Essex County Council Highways Authority about UDC’s latest traffic light and one-way scheme in Saffron Walden.
Road changes to allow more houses
ECC recently announced their intent to undertake UDC’s traffic changes to Saffron Walden roads to allow more large-scale homebuilding on the east of town. The scheme replaces the roundabouts at the junctions of Newport Rd and London Rd with traffic lights and no-entry signs to stop vehicles going up Borough Lane. The effect of this will be to close the east-west HGV route and send all in-bound traffic through the town centre. The centre of Saffron Walden already has unsafe levels of pollution, which the most recent study shows [PDF] has got significantly worse over the last 6 years.
Residents must be heard
Weight limit forces HGVs through town
Cllr Light continued “Here’s a sample of some of the things residents have said on Facebook: Nadia called the scheme ‘a very short sighted proposal’ that will ‘result in far greater pollution’; Maryann thought it would make rush-hour journeys much longer from Audley End Station; Scott was concerned that the plans seemed to show footpaths on the busy school walking route ‘being reduced and narrowed’; and Catherine pointed out the 22t weight limit on Debden Rd which cuts off another route. In coming up with the scheme both UDC and ECC thought they could send HGVs up Debden Rd, but because of the weight limit all of the biggest and most polluting HGVs will have no choice but to go through the town centre. It is fatally flawed.”
Under the proposed scheme all inbound traffic will be funnelled down London Rd and the 22t weight limit on Debden Rd means that the biggest and worst polluting HGVs will be forced via the Saffron Walden town centre
Unsafe pollution already at all time high
Withdraw or prove scheme
Cllr Light concluded “Residents are clearly annoyed and concerned about this scheme. Because we’re not a national political party, R4U only has one boss – the residents we represent. So we oppose this scheme for all the reasons above. We have asked ECC to provide the justification and evidence, or immediately withdraw the scheme. Concerned residents can visit us online to keep up to date.”
R4U has been sent emails that confirm that the scheme is UDC’s. However after a public outcry UDC has recently tried to distance itself from the scheme, instead blaming ECC. ECC is the responsible highways authority, however ECC were asked to undertake the scheme by UDC as part of UDC’s 2017 update to their draft Local Plan, and UDC is paying for the scheme with monies it gained from approving new homes in Saffron Walden. ECC wouldn’t be undertaking the scheme if UDC had not asked for it and was not delivering the cash for it.
Send comments to ECC and UDC
Since UDC and ECC have provided no public consultation, those concerned about the scheme may want to directly email UDC Council Leader Howard Rolfe (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Saffron Walden Essex County Councillor John Moran (email@example.com).
New traffic lights will be installed at the Newport Rd/London Rd junction with no-entry signs at the bottom of Borough Lane to stop traffic using the current HGV route
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 leads Uttlesford District Council (UDC). It is the fastest growing local political movement in its district. In its first election in 2015 it became the second party at UDC. In 2017 it solidified its position with a further by-election gain with 60% of the vote. In the May 2019 Local Elections 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.
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 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.