Minutes of a meeting of the HIGHWAYS SUB-COMMITTEE held on Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 7.30pm in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex
PRESENT Cllr G Sell (Chair), Cllrs A Khan, J O’Brien and L Prior and co-opted member Ray Woodcock
Mrs Ruth Clifford – Parish Clerk
Cllr P Jones – via Zoom
Cty Cllr R Gooding
1 member of the press
1 member of the public in person
1 member of the public via Zoom
126 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Cllr M Caton – holiday – approved.
127 DELCARATIONS OF INTEREST
128 TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETINGS HELD ON 26TH APRIL AND 24TH MAY 2023
RESOLVED To approve the minutes of the meetings held on 26th April and 24th May 2023 as true and accurate accounts.
129 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON ACTION POINTS FROM THE ABOVE MEETINGS
See Clerk’s Report attached. 464 – schemes submitted to the NEPP – see under minute number 136c below. 467 – Vehicle Activated Signs – Cty Cllr Gooding suggested that the Clerk contact Henham PC as they have recently completed a scheme and may be able to offer helpful advice.
130 TO CONSIDER CO-OPTING NON-COUNCILLOR MEMBERS TO THE SUB-COMMITTEE
Three people had indicated their willingness to be considered and some background on each was given to members. Following discussion, and having been proposed by Cllr Sell and seconded by Cllr O’Brien, it was unanimously
RESOLVED to co-opt Gill Bell, Katherine Playle and Ray Woodcock to the sub-committee.
131 TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE CHAIR, CLLR GEOFFREY SELL
Cllr Sell reported that he is being lobbied by a resident of Cambridge Road for a Residents’ Parking Scheme as they are suffering from airport parking. A resident elsewhere is requesting a 20mph scheme. Cllr Sell has advised residents of the requirements for support from other residents and the likely charges.
Cty Cllr Gooding advised that Essex Highways are supporting 20mph zones in the vicinity of schools, but zones in other areas would be considered as part of the national campaign. That, however, is under review and it may be some months before any schemes will be considered.
Cllr Khan has received confirmation from the airport that they will replace the No Airport Parking signs removed from Dairy Lane. Cty Cllr Gooding asked him to submit full details of the signs to him in advance so that he could ensure that they are compliant and will not be removed by Essex CC again.
132 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE FROM COUNTY COUNCILLOR GOODING ON HIGHWAYS PROJECTS FOR STANSTED MOUNTFITCHET
This report also covered agenda items 11a and b.
Uttlesford Local Highways Panel (LHP) – as previously stated the setup has changed and Cllr Gooding has been working with his fellow councillors and officers to make improvements to the administration of the scheme. Backlogs have occurred, not least due to the numbers of staff having left Essex Highways (EH). There is no longer any funding from Uttlesford District Council (UDC). There is also a central board which will look at some of the larger schemes to try to progress them more quickly and the next meeting of that takes place on 26th July.
In response to a question from the Chair, Cllr Gooding confirmed that LHP meetings will be open to the public – with a longer period for speaking – and people will be able to book to speak at a meeting – these will hopefully also go online. Interim meetings are continuing but the first meeting that the public can attend should be in October 2023. Letters will be sent to all town and parish councils to inform them of the changes. Officers dealing with the administration of the scheme are Sarah Tomlin and Dan McLean. A new website is being set up and Clerks will have access to that to be able to monitor progress of schemes. Two schemes in Stansted should progress, ideally by the end of December but if not then by the end of March, and these are the zebra crossing in Silver Street and the 20mph is Plenty scheme by St Mary’s primary school.
Cllr Gooding agreed to speak to the Clerk outside the meeting to go through the list of projects which this Council has submitted.
Grove Hill – Cllr Gooding reminded everyone that Cabinet Member, Cllr Lee Scott, has stated on a number of occasions that this is not a quick process. With regard to finding an alternative route for HGVs, Cllr Gooding has met with the other councils affected, with the exception of Takeley. This scheme will go to the central board referred to above for consideration. It is a slow process with many different aspects to be considered but it must be done properly to avoid any risk of Judicial Review. Cllr O’Brien commented that a by-pass might be more beneficial to all communities.
Cllr Gooding referred to the traffic lights on the hill – these cannot be moved for safety reasons but the removal of the parked cars would assist with traffic flow. EH cannot take action against drivers who jump the red lights – that is a Police matter. It would have to be supported by cameras and it was agreed to invite Sgt Sharma to a future meeting to discuss what options are available.
Tipper trucks through the village – there is nothing that can be done to prevent this as they are not doing anything illegal. Conversations have been held with East Herts planning as most lorries are coming from the BS North development but it seems there are no conditions preventing this. Cllr Sell agreed to speak to counterparts in Bishop’s Stortford to see if they can offer any advice. Mr Woodcock asked if it could be a planning requirement to state in the conditions that waste must be disposed of onsite.
After further discussion, it was agreed that Cllr Gooding would look at the points raised in Cllr Jones’s document circulated prior to the meeting. He will add the updates/responses and return it to the Clerk. Once obtained, other updates on tipper trucks and “red light jumpers” will be added and a FAQ document drafted. All members are asked to let the Clerk have any other points they wish to be included. Once approved, it will be sent to the Grove Hill residents’ group and posted on our website as a point of reference for residents.
Cllr Gooding suggested that a joint motion could be put to UDC in October regarding planning conditions relating to the disposal of waste from future development sites.
Section 106 updates – Cllr O’Brien stated his dissatisfaction that there is still no update following the site visit on Church Road back in February. The Clerk has chased this up, but no response received.
133 TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM CLLR KHAN AND MR WOODOCK ON THE WORST AREAS FOR DISABLED PEOPLE IN THE VILLAGE
The report and supporting pictures had been circulated to members with the agenda.
Mr Woodcock highlighted item 9 in the report – the need for a crossing point in High Lane – and it was suggested that this be raised with the LHP to lobby for funding. Cllr Gooding stated that there will be funding available for works to footpaths but he is awaiting confirmation of the allocation.
134 ESSEX ELECTRIC VEHILCE CHARGE POINT STRATEGY – TO CONSIDER WHETHER TO COMMENT AND IF SO, APPOINT A MEMBER TO DO SO
The consultation document was circulated to members with the agenda. Members were asked to let the Clerk have their comments by Monday 24th July so that a draft could be prepared for the Chair’s approval prior to submission.
135 TO CONSIDER CONSULTING WITH RESIDENTS ON THE HARGRAVE ESTATE FOR A 20MPH SPEED LIMIT
As per the attached Clerk’s report, a resident contacted the office and asked for this to be considered by the sub-committee. It was agreed that for any scheme to be successful, it would require physical calming measures as well as a speed reduction. Cllr O’Brien referred to a very successful scheme in Fowlmere where there are heavy rubber cushions which force traffic to slow down and he asked why Essex cannot do something similar. Given Cllr Gooding’s comments above regarding national 20mph schemes, it was agreed to start with an application for Rainsford Road under the “school” scheme rather than the national one.
136 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON:
- a) S106 PROJECTS SUBMITTED – covered above
- b) UTTLESFORD LOCAL HIGHWAY PANEL PROJECTS SUBMITTED – covered above
- c) NORTH ESSEX PARKING PARTNERSHIP (NEPP) PROJECTS SUBMIITED
Please see updates on all of these in the Clerk’s report attached. This was circulated to members with the agenda. Discussion took place around the confusion caused by the requirement for projects to achieve a 75% support rate at consultation. Cllr Gooding was unable to clarify this and he had been surprised the comments on the proposals for the Mountfitchet Estate had been rejected by District Cllr Hargreaves who represents UDC on the NEPP.
It was agreed that the Clerk should write to Cllr Hargreaves asking for a detailed explanation as to how the NEPP manages its applications, the reason for the 75% support criteria and who makes the decisions on the applications – is it the Panel and can parish and town councils make representation? She will also endeavour to find out which schemes have been approved for the current year and whether these had 75% support as there appear to be some anomalies, not least the progress of the waiting restrictions for the Mountfitchet Estate. Cllr Gooding said he would find out who holds the delegated power at ECC with regard to the NEPP.
129 Office to contact Henham Parish Council re Vehicle Activated Signs
131 Cllr Khan to send details of the No Airport Parking signs to Cty Cllr Gooding
132 Cllr Sell to contact counterparts in Bishop’s Stortford regarding tipper trucks
Cllr Gooding to meet with Clerk to discuss historic LHP applications
Office to draft FAQ document
135 Office to apply for 20 is Plenty scheme in Rainsford Road
136c Clerk to write to District Cllr Hargreaves
Cllr Gooding to establish ECC contact on the NEPP
Clerk’s Report to the Highways Sub-committee 9TH July 2023
Agenda Item 4 – Action points from last meeting
463 Put on the agenda for the next meeting – This referred to agenda item 8
464 Hargrave Mews and Spencer Close schemes to be re-submitted by the office – The North Essex Parking Partnership has advised that their requirements have changed since our schemes were submitted – See further detail under agenda item 10 below
464 Clerk to write to the Chair of the LHP regarding the Town Twinning signs – Email sent to Cty Cllr Ray Gooding – No response
465 Office to apply for parking restrictions on Bentfield Road – Application submitted – Awaiting outcome
466 Office to contact neighbouring parishes and those close to Gatwick and Heathrow airports – Emails sent to neighbouring parishes of Heathrow, Gatwick, Southend and Manchester airports. See details of outcome in Clerk’s report below
467 Arrange a letter drop to residents of Bentfield Area – Will wait for a decision on agenda item 10 as it might be possible to write one letter covering two potential 20mph schemes
467 Office to explore visual signs – quotes received – Attached to give an idea of costs and for members to decide whether to pursue as a future budget item.
Members to contact potential co-optees and this item be placed on the next agenda.
Contact made – Agenda item 5 – See report below.
Contact with Council’s near other airports
We contacted approx. 20 Parish, Town and Borough councils but we didn’t get many responses. We had sympathy from some of the smaller settlements, but it seems that none of the airports make a financial contribution to any parking schemes. In the case of Heathrow and Manchester in particular, these areas are not parished but instead the relevant Borough Council deals with parking issues direct. Most of them have implemented residents parking schemes which they fund themselves. For example, in Hillingdon all residential roads have Controlled Parking Zones implemented at the request of residents. Other main roads have a combination of yellow lines and pay and display parking and this controls the issue of airport parking. However, they do have a problem with mini cabs/taxi drivers waiting on local roads for calls from passengers arriving at the airport.
Agenda item 5 – To consider co-opting non councillor members
At the meeting on 24th May it was agreed to approach a number of parishioners to see if they were interested in being co-opted to this Sub-Committee. Two individuals have confirmed their willingness to be considered and third resident had already confirmed his willingness at the Annual Council Meeting.
Agenda item 10 – To consider a 20mph speed limit for the Hargrave Estate
A resident of Hargrave Estate, having seen talk about a 20mph for Walpole Meadows, considers this would be appropriate for Croasdaile Road in particular. They state that the road has sweeping bend with poor visibility and drivers encountering hazards when meeting in opposite directions. In addition, sight lines are reduced by the large group of overgrown conifer trees. Croasdaile Road is also a bus route and there is also a primary school nearby with a lot of pedestrian child movements each day. Finally, there are a number of alleyways which egress onto Croasdaile Road, where some vehicles mount the pavement at speed to pass oncoming vehicles. In discussion with Cllr Sell, we delayed the letter drop to residents in the Bentfield area in order for you to consider whether you wish to request this be extended to cover the Hargrave Estate also.
Agenda item 11 – Updates:
Cllrs Jones and O’Brien met with Annette Thornton, the ECC S106 Officer, on 16th February 2023. The meeting was held to consider long term improvements to the footway along Church Road and the Officers also then went to look at Forest Hall Road with a view to accessing the possibility of a footway between Bentley Drive and Pesterford Bridge. I chased the Officer for an update on 21st April 2023 and 20th June 2023 but unfortunately have received no response.
b) Uttlesford Local Highways Panel (ULHP)
Over the last few years a list of projects have been submitted to the ULHP. The only one that we know is progressing is the Silver Street Zebra Crossing although we have no time scale set. Updates have been requested verbally at a number of meetings but most recently by email to Cty Cllr Gooding on 20th June 2023. An email was sent to Cty Cllr Gooding on 16th June 2023 seeking an update on the Zebra Crossing on the top of Chapel Hill as this had been raised directly with Cllr Caton and he advised that he had a meeting set up with the LHP Officers “specifically to go through the outstanding items”. Unfortunately no response has been received to our email of 20th June and no updates on any projects listed below has been given:
1 20mph zone to include Church Road, Lower Street and Chapel Hill
2 Improve road safety on B1383 from Five Acres to the junction of High Lane
3 Traffic Calming Scheme for High Lane
4 Proper surfacing of footpath linking King Charles Drive to Cambridge Road
5 Town Twinning Signs at entrances to the village (x 3)
6 Zebra Crossing on Silver Street
7 Partial closure of Pennington Lane
8 Junction improvements – Chapel Hill with Cambridge Road/Silver Street
9 Creation of parking bays to replace some verges on the Mountfitchet Estate
10 Proposal to narrow the pavement to allow “two wheels on” parking in Lower Street
11 Upgrade of Zebra Crossing on Chapel Hill by the Fire Station – This scheme has now been submitted three times since 2019 with no response.
c) North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP)
Members may recall that we submitted various schemes to the NEPP who came back to us asking for evidence of the consultations we had undertaken. We completed the consultation process for each application and re-submitted the schemes on 23rd November 2021. Since then we have been chasing the progress. In June 2023 an Officer at the NEPP confirmed the schemes in Uttlesford that had been improved to go ahead and the only Stansted scheme is the waiting restrictions on the Mountfitchet Estate, although we do know that our application for Bentfield Road is pending. When pushed for a response on the November 2021 submissions, the Officer explained that they now only consider measures that are deemed “absolutely necessary, based on a number of factors which appear on our new attached score sheet”. Based on the information that I have already supplied, none of the requests would meet the criteria regarding support. Particularly where we had one scheme where the number of objectors was almost the same as number of supporters. It seems that if we wish these schemes to be considered, we will have to achieve minimum 75% support from residents. This is the support from the total number of households consulted and not the total number of responses received. The five schemes submitted in November 2021 which have not been approved are:
1 Spencer Close
2 Cambridge Road
3 Chapel Hill
4 Lower Street – Adjacent to the brook
5 Bentley Drive/Bayford Way – This was withdrawn by the Parish Council and subsequently included in the recent FHP Parking Consultation REPORT ENDS
PETER JONES REPORT: GROVE HILL-QUESTIONS, ISSUES AND ACTIONS
The last updates appear to be 28th June from Andrew McDonnell and 8th June from Cllr. Lee Scott and 16th May from Andrew McDonnell.
Timetable to implement scheme to exclude HGVs from all roads leading to Lower Street unless access is required.
June Feasibility completed in draft form based on information provided from 45 cameras. The conclusion is that the best alternative route is Hall Road but expenditure will be needed.
Early July Local Highways Panel called by Ray Gooding to discuss feasibility report and refer the scheme to Cllr Lee Scott for approval and action.
Late July Apply for inclusion in Cabinet Member Action ( Cllr. Lee Scott ).
August Consultation with all areas and people using the press, on line and letters.
Autumn If no objections then enforcement orders could possibly be in place.
H2 2024 If objections then enforcement orders may be in place by the end of next year. It appears likely that there will be objections from Elsenham and Ugley and possibly other parishes.
Any objections will need to be rejected or overcome if enforcement orders are to be approved.
Information and actions required:
- When will the Feasibility Study be publicly available?
- Has the Local Highways Panel met and approved the Feasibility Study?
- When will the Cabinet Member Action be considered and, hopefully, approved?
- Subject to answers to above is the consultation now delayed to the Autumn?
- To ensure that all members of the Local Highways Panel are fully briefed including a limited selection of photographs and videos.
To ascertain the reasons for objection by other parishes. SMPC to seek a meeting with Elsenham, Ugley, Henham and Takeley.
Tipper Trucks ( 32tHGV ): Disturbance and Danger
The problems. The tipper trucks are on the move by 6am and cause noise disturbance. In addition excessive speed and size are causing danger to pedestrians. The companies have been approached by the police without it would appear any great impact.
Information and actions required:
- What conditions are imposed when planning applications are approved?
- What is the enforcement procedure if conditions?
- What are the penalties for repeated breaching of planning conditions?
- Can the level of fines imposed be increased by local authorities or are these fixed by legislation?
- If changes to legislation SMPC should lobby Kemi Badenoch to ensure that this is included in The Levelling Up Bill preferably with support from other parishes.
Issues with Traffic Light
- A significant number of drivers jump the red lights which, apart from risk of accident, leads to congestion on the single carriageway
- The positioning of the lights coming down Grove Hill cause issues when too many vehicles descend the hill and are caught by the lights leading to a jam on the single carriageway.
Information and actions required:
- What are the reasons why permanent cameras cannot be installed to catch motorists jumping the red lights? Is the primary issue technical or financial?
- When will TrueCam ( mobile unit to tackle speeding and the jumping of the lights ) be operational? Have the units been received and has training taken place? Is it confirmed that a unit will operate in Stansted Mountfitchet two days a month?
- Why can the traffic lights up Grove Hill not be resited to around Moat House. Is there an issue with access from the houses or would it result in too many vehicles being stacked back into Lower Street thus leading to an unacceptable traffic build up on Church Road and Chapel
20mph Speed Limit
It has been suggested that Grove Hill should have a speed limit restriction of 20mph. This change would presumably start at the existing 30mph limit on Elsenham Road. It is questionable as to whether the required criteria would be met.
If a 20mph limit was to be introduced, it would not be acceptable to revert to 30mph on entering Lower Street. As such there would need to be a wider 20mph zone presumably covering Lower Street, Church Road ( at least in part ), Chapel Hill and High Lane as well as Station Road.
Information and actions required:
- Would the proposed 20mph zone be considered to meet the relevant criteria?
- Would the Parish Council support such a proposal? REPORT ENDS
Members of the Council you are hereby summoned, and members of the public and press are hereby invited, to attend a meeting of the HIGHWAYS SUB-COMMITTEE which will be held on Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 7.30pm in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted, Essex where the following business will be transacted:
1 To receive apologies for absence
2 To receive declarations of interest
3 To approve the minutes of the meetings held on 26th April and 24th May 2023
4 To receive an update on action points from the above meetings – See Clerk’s Report
5 To consider co-opting non councillor members to the Sub-Committee – See Clerk’s Report
6 To receive a report from the Chair, Cllr Geoffrey Sell
7 To receive an update from County Councillor Ray Gooding on highways projects for Stansted Mountfitchet
8 To receive a report from Cllr Khan and Mr Woodcock on the worst areas for disabled people in the village – report and pictures attached
9 Essex Electric Vehicle Charge Point Strategy – To consider whether to comment and if so appoint a member to do so – see attached
10 To consider consulting with residents on the Hargrave Estate for a 20mph speed limit
11 To receive a report on: (see Clerk’s report)
a) S106 projects submitted
b) Uttlesford Local Highway Panel projects submitted
c) North Essex Parking Partnership projects submitted
Ruth Clifford, Parish Clerk – 13th July 2023
Any intention to record, film or take photographs during a meeting must be notified to the Clerk prior to the start of the meeting.