R4U demands urgent action after days of ECC failure to clear flood on major closed road between Newport and Saffron Walden

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) is demanding urgent action by Essex County Council (ECC) to clear a major flood that has closed the B1383 between Newport and Saffron Walden for days. R4U says poor maintenance is to blame after an FOI request shows that ECC has failed to resolve long standing drainage problems on the stretch of road.

Neil Hargreaves (R4U) Neil Hargreaves (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr Neil Hargreaves, Uttlesford District Council ward member for Newport, said “The road between Newport and Saffron Walden at the bottom of Sparrows End Hill has been closed since Thursday 3rd December due to flooding. Essex County Council is responsible for both highways and flood defence, and they have done nothing about it even though they have known about the underlying drainage problem for years. Unfortunately this recent failure is what Uttlesford residents have come to expect from a complacent administration at County Hall.”

Cllr Hargreaves continued “Since the road closed, I and many residents have contacted ECC and the County Councillor multiple times, and yet they still fail to act. As a result local roads are in chaos, with abandoned vehicles, reports of school buses dropping students at the wrong side of the floods to fend for themselves, police rescuing people from cars, and damage to the private road through Shortgrove estate by rat runners. This is a safeguarding issue that needs urgent resolution. But instead of acting, all County Councillors seem to be doing is taking to Facebook to blame local people.”

Cllr Hargreaves concluded “The B1383 takes 90,000 vehicles a week. The flooding has been caused by a failure of basic highways maintenance. Figures obtained by R4U via Freedom of Information Act requests reveal that ECC knew all about the problems. In February 2020 there were 16 blocked drains along this section of road, some left since 2017. The same report reveals that across Uttlesford there are nearly three times as many unrepaired road defects as three years ago. Residents have had enough of this. We have requested that the ECC administration urgently do their job. We in Uttlesford send more than £40million of our council taxes to ECC, but often that money is spent elsewhere. It is time they prioritised our money on our needs, cleared this flood, and fixed the huge backlog of road maintenance jobs in our district.”

Cars have been abandoned in the flood on the B1383 which ECC has failed to clear for 4 days

Vehicles have been forced to make U-turns at the flood because of no advanced warning signs

Cars have been unable to make it, but some HGVs have been able to pass through the flood on the B1383 near the bottom of Sparrows End Hill near Shortgrove

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.