Minutes of a meeting of the HIGHWAYS SUB-COMMITTEE meeting held at 7.30pm on Wednesday 18th October 2023 in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex
PRESENT Cllr G Sell (Chair), Cllrs P Jones and A Khan and Co-Opted Members, K Playle and R Woodcock
ATTENDING Mrs Emma Philbrick – Deputy Clerk, Cllr L Prior – via Zoom, County Councillor Ray Gooding, 1 member of the press – via Zoom, 1 member of the public – via Zoom
212 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Caton – holiday; Cllr O’Brien – family commitments; and Cllr Prior – unwell but will join on Zoom.
It was unanimously
RESOLVED To approve the apologies for absence from Cllrs Caton, O’Brien and Prior
The Clerk, Ruth Clifford gave her apologies for absence and Hollie Ryder gave apologies for lateness.
213 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – None
214 TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 19TH JULY 2023
Ray Woodcock is not showing as present but was at the meeting.
RESOLVED To accept the minutes of the meeting held on 19th July 2023 as a true and accurate account with the above amendment made.
215 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON ACTION POINTS
129 – Office to contact Henham Parish Council re Vehicle Activated Signs – A meeting was held with the person who arranged this for Henham. A quote has been obtained but members decided that even though this is a good idea, it is too expensive to consider as part of the budget process. It was suggested that maybe a grant could be sourced to cover the project.
131 – Cllr Khan to send details of the No Airport Parking signs to Cty Cllr Gooding – Cllr Khan confirmed that this has previously been done but did not receive any response back. He has also contacted Stansted Airport and asked for details of the signs.
132 – Cllr Sell to contact counterparts in Bishops Stortford regarding tipper trucks – This has been done. Details of where the vehicles go to are not kept on record, but they believe the golden hour is 8am. He also established that the Environment Agency are the regulator of Essex Waste and not UDC Environmental Health.
132 – Cllr Gooding to meet with the Clerk to discuss historic LHP applications and Office to draft FAQ documents – The Clerk has sent several requests but has received no response so unable to progress.
135 – Office to apply for ’20 is Plenty’ scheme in Rainsford Road – Application form completed and sent to Cllr Gooding for support and submission.
136c – Clerk to write to District Cllr Hargreaves – Done and meeting held – Details of which were sent to members ahead of the meeting
Katherine Playle arrived during this agenda item and apologised for lateness
216 TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE CHAIR, CLLR GEOFFREY SELL
Cllr Sell reported the following:
UDC may be going to public consultation with their local Plan. He has calculated that if this is adopted and the number of houses goes ahead then there will be approx. 4,500 additional households potentially accessing the B1383. There is a meeting on 30th October to decide if it does go for consultation.
County Councillor Gooding arrived during this agenda item.
Hollie Ryder arrived on Zoom during this agenda item.
217 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE FROM COUNTY COUNCILLOR RAY GOODING ON HIGHWAYS PROJECTS FOR STANSTED MOUNTFITCHET
Cty Councillor Gooding advised that Cllr Lee Scott had moved on and that Cllr Tom Cunningham was now the Portfolio Holder. He officially started yesterday (17/10/23) so he hadn’t had a chance to meet with him yet.
With regards to Grove Hill, the consultation is nearly ready to go out and the plan was to arrange a meeting with all parishes including Stansted, Elsenham, Henham, Ugley and Takeley. Hopefully Cllr Tom Cunningham will still agree to this course of action and Cty Cllr Gooding will work to get the meeting underway. Takeley have been expressing concern about heavy goods vehicles going through the village. He suggested looking at how we want to present our issues in Stansted.
Cllr Jones commented that the real crunch comes down to whether there is anywhere on an alternative route that is worse than Grove Hill. He feels that the route from Hall Road to Takeley does not have the same intensity as Grove Hill. Cty Councillor Gooding advised that the results from the traffic survey highlighted that on the sharp bend before the roundabout on Hall Road there is a nursery and Highways have stated it is unacceptable to use this route unless capital works are undertaken to ensure it is fit for purpose. Cllr Sell pointed out that although Elsenham are not getting any further development in the draft Local Plan, they have had 1000 new homes approved which have not yet been built. This will mean HGV’s using Grove Hill to go to site with materials etc. Katherine Playle asked why a width restriction could not be enforced using bollards and Cty Cllr Gooding explained why this was not possible. Ray Woodcock gave his support to Cllr Jones comments and advised he thought at least one resident of Grove Hill should be invited to attend the meeting of the Parishes.
Cllr Khan voiced his concerns that nothing was going to be done to resolve this issue and that residents weren’t being told the truth. Cty Cllr Gooding responded that there is no easy solution and there may be no solution, but he would like to see some action and they are trying to find a solution if possible.
Cllr Jones noted that this would not happen if Hall Road was not considered suitable in the safety audit so work would need to be carried out to achieve this objective and capital needed to be invested to do the works. The works needed to be done to achieve this and the costs involved would need to be researched. The positive is that Cllr Lee Scott moved this from the Local Highways Panel who would not have the money to carry out such a scheme to Highways Central who are not constrained like the LHP
Discussions took place around the need for a proper traffic survey and Cty Cllr Gooding confirmed that they had the results of the camera survey which was done in 49 locations. He does not know when the results will be published. It was agreed that the office would write to Cllr Tom Cunningham welcoming him to the role and inviting him to visit Stansted at a time which is convenient to him but in this calendar year. He would also be asked for the report to be published ASAP.
Cty Councillor Gooding also updated on the following:
Local Highways Panel – They had a lack of staff so there were issues getting projects delivered and validated. Since changes were made earlier this year things are a lot easier. He decided not to take a contribution from UDC due to the ridiculous terms they put on it. 20’s Plenty is on the list and going ahead but there is not timescale yet but it should be in this financial year. Some of the schemes that Ruth had enquired about had slipped off the list as they did not meet the conditions but she was not notified of this.
The traffic calming on High Lane is on hold and is being reviewed as part of the Grove Hill scheme. This is because High Lane is a PR2 road meaning it would not be considered for traffic calming. The Grove Hill scheme would potentially have the rating downgraded to a PR3 allowing a traffic calming scheme to happen. In this event the road would take a different priority on a Sat Nav but on the other hand the level of maintenance and repairs goes down. After discussions on the layout of the footpaths along there it was agreed to apply for two pedestrian crossings which would to some degree act as traffic calming. Position as per the draft NDP.
The next Local Highways Panel meeting will be taking place in December. Cty Cllr Gooding will let us know the date so that someone from the Parish Council can attend and represent any points.
218 TO CONSIDER MAKING AN APPLICATION FOR A ZEBRA CROSSING ON FOREST HALL ROAD
A request from a resident who has witnessed several near misses with school children was circulated to members with the agenda. It was agreed to ask the resident to contact Ray Woodcock to discuss their request further. After further discussions and with 4 votes in favour and 1 abstention it was
RESOLVED To request a study be carried out by the Local Highways Panel as to the best location for a crossing. As the position would be critical.
It was also agreed to contact the school to gain their support.
219 TO SET UP A WORKING GROUP TO LOOK AT CYCYLE ROUTES AND BUS ROUTES
Cllr Jones advised that he has requested this as there is a detailed chapter on it in the draft Neighbourhood Development Plan. He is aware that not everything will be possible but that a working group need to look at it and decide what the issues are and what action is possible. Cty Cllr Gooding suggested they talk to Sustrans. He also gave details of the current consultation being carried out on the 7/7a bus service.
It was agreed that Cllrs Peter Jones, John O’Brien and Tom van de Bilt will be on the Working Group.
220 TO CONSIDER A REQUEST FROM A RESIDENT IN RELATION TO SIGNAGE ON RECREATION GROUND
The request from the resident was circulated to members ahead of the meeting. Subsequently the resident has confirmed that before signage is discussed, he would like to Parish Council to enquire as to the status of the road.
Cty Cllr Gooding confirmed that it is an unadopted road with a public right of way. Any scheme to be implemented for parking restrictions would need to be discussed by the Residents Association and the residents canvassed.
221 TO RECEIVE A REPORT ON:
- a) S106 PROJECTS SUBMITTED
Cllr Jones gave the background details of this and confirmed that despite numerous requests, we have never received a response. It was agreed that the office would write to Paul Crick the Highways Director copying in Cllr Tom Cunningham as cabinet member. The lack of action is costly given that the value left in the S106 Highways funds eroding quickly given the rate of inflation in recent years.
- b) UTTLESFORD LOCAL HIGHWAYS PANEL PROJECTS SUBMITTED
After no response for information from Cty Cllr Gooding, the Clerk went direct to the new Uttlesford Local Highways Panel Officer and managed to receive a response to all outstanding projects submitted. The response was circulated to all members with the agenda.
- c) NORTH ESSEX PARKING PARTNERSHIP PROJECTS SUBMITTED
The scheme for Bentfield Road was submitted and the outcome is awaited.
222 TO DISCUSS THE SUBJECT OF APPLICATIONS TO THE NORTH ESSEX PARKING PARTNERSHIP AND TO AGREE A WAY FORWARD
It was agreed that the Forest Hall Park Parking Working Group would meet and review the results of the consultation and bring back to the Sub-Committee which schemes they think could be re-submitted based on residents support.
Meeting closed at 9.15pm
217 Office to write to Cllr Tom Cunningham
217 Apply for two pedestrian crossings on High Lane
217 Cty Cllr Gooding to advise the date of the next Local Highways Panel meeting
218 Ask resident to contact Ray Woodcock
218 Request a study by the Local Highways Panel
219 Working Group to look at what the issues are and what needs to be done
221 Office to write to Paul Crick copying in Cllr Tom Cunningham
222 Forest Hall Park Parking Working Group to review and bring back to the Highways Sub-Committee
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 18th October 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 meeting held on 19th July 2023
4 To receive an update on action points
5 To receive a report from the Chair, Cllr Geoffrey Sell
6 To receive an update from County Councillor Ray Gooding on highways projects for Stansted Mountfitchet
7 To consider making an application for a zebra crossing on Forest Hall Road
8 To set up a working group to look at cycle routes and bus routes
9 To consider a request from a resident in relation to signage on Recreation Ground
10 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
11 To discuss the subject of applications to the North Essex Parking Partnership and to agree a way forward – see Clerk’s report
Ruth Clifford, Parish Clerk 12th October 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.
Zoom details for the meeting: ID 833 3912 3750 PASSWORD 120109
Clerk’s Highway Update
CLERK’S REPORT TO HIGHWAYS SUB-COMMITTEE MEETING – 18TH OCTOBER 2023
Agenda Item 4 – Action Points from Last Meeting
129 Office to contact Henham Parish Council re Vehicle Activated Signs
We met with the gentleman who took on this project for Henham Parish Council. He has given us lots of useful information – particularly around the trials and tribulations of applying for the licence from Essex. Emma has requested a costing from the company but one sign costs in the region of £4,000 fully installed – could be slightly more. There is an additional cost for training and then an annual maintenance charge.
If the sub-committee is minded to want to pursue this idea, we will obtain more detailed costings and take it to F&GP for consideration during the budget process. The Henham signs are solar-powered and each month they download the data and send it to another resident who analyses it. The results are also sent to the Speedwatch lady at Essex Police and to Alex.
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
Emailed Cty Cllr Gooding for update on Cllr Jones’s document on Grove Hill to adapt for FAQ sheet for the website – still no response received so unable to progress this.
135 Office to apply for 20 is Plenty scheme in Rainsford Road
Application form completed and sent it to Cllr Gooding for support and submission.
136c Clerk to write to District Cllr Hargreaves
Cllr Gooding to establish ECC contact on the NEPP
Cllr Hargreaves attended a meeting in the office where he explained why he had voted against our proposals for waiting restrictions at the Mountfitchet Estate. He undertook to find out how the NEPP committee established the 75% resident support rule – here is his response to me:
I have enquired and not found any definitive answer. Having now seen some more schemes it is clear that there can be no definitive answer because they are all different. My advice therefore is you make up your own assessment of what constitutes 75% for each application. If it is one street on an estate it should be easy to decide, but along a thoroughfare with other complexities, then not. As I think we discussed in the meeting it should generally be at household level not individuals in a house, which could be impractical
Also any affected businesses must be counted. A recent application was marked down because a pub was not consulted. I think any well considered version of 75% will be accepted. Put another way, if there is no defined standard no-one can say not compliant.
On other matters I have continued pressing for better financial information for NEPPs ‘business’. Also for clarifications to the contract which interestingly says ECC are responsible for schemes involving congestion and / or safety. Which apart from residents parking I thought all TROS we would raise via NEPP would be. It seems County members didn’t know this, so an interesting discussion and I await outcomes.
And we have the airport parking summit on 2nd November, arranged by the UDC chief exec and which I will be chairing, which the PC will have been invited to
Cllr Neil Hargreaves, Deputy Council Leader, Portfolio holder for finance, budgets and economy
District councillor for Newport Ward
Agenda Item 7 – Forest Hall Road
We have received a request from a resident for a zebra crossing on Forest Hall Road, close to the Forest Hall School car park exit and Romeera Leisure Centre entrance. The request was sent to us following the resident having witnessed a number of near-misses involving school pupils at this point.
If agreed, it would provide a safe crossing point for students coming through Foresthall Park/Newman’s Plantation. Members may have seen an appeal for support on social media and we are expecting to receive a petition prior to the meeting.
Agenda Item 9 – Request from Recreation Ground Resident
See attached email from the resident which is sent to us as the largest “frontage” on the Recreation Ground road. My comment is that signage could only be erected if there is a scheme in operation as there is in the St John’s area. There is no evidence that the Roads Association has discussed this, let alone canvassed the opinion of other residents in the road. I would advise that it is premature for you to agree to anything prior to having more information.
Agenda Items 10 and 11:
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. Chased again on 3 October 2023.
b) Uttlesford Local Highways Panel (ULHP)
Over the last few years, a number 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 and 10th August 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”.
As no response has been received from Cllr Gooding, and he has not responded to my reminder that he offered to meet with me to go through the list, I contacted the new ULHP officer direct. The list of projects with her response is below. Her reply to my point 11 is very annoying. If members agree, I propose to re-submit items 3 (that was not our scheme!), 5, 8, 9, 10 and 11.
The minutes and lists from the latest ULHP meeting (September 23) are also attached FYI.
Letter From the Uttlesford Local Highways Panel officer:
Thanks for your email, I will do my best to give you as much information as I can , but some of these scheme requests I do not have any knowledge of and cannot find any record of them on the system either:
1 20mph zone to include Church Road, Lower Street and Chapel Hill – I have received this request the reference for this potential scheme is LUTT222022, however this is along similar lines to a request received and validated for Thaxted – the Thaxted 20mph request failed the validation process – I was informed that presently the Essex Speed Management Policy does not allow for 20mph in village environments and can only be implemented in the urban environment i.e. in towns/cities. The other issue with this request is that some of the roads where you are requesting the limit are Priority Routes for traffic where we do not permit 20mph speed limits. Presently, I do not think there is much value in me putting this request through the process – though it remains on the list just in case things change in terms of the policy around 20mph speed limits in the future. Our Speed Management Policy will be reviewed at some point in the future, and this may change things.
2 Improve road safety on B1383 from Five Acres to the junction of High Lane – I have received this request the reference for this is potential scheme LUTT223010 – my initial views on this one is that it is going to be extremely costly (well beyond the total budget for one year) and very likely beyond the scope of the LHP as this would involve a complete reconstruction and stats to be relocated, utility equipment runs under the path. We would also need to think about how traffic on this priority route would be managed during the scheme – I think it would need lane closures (at the least) and the traffic management would add more to the cost. For these reasons, I have not put this in for validation as this is not a scheme which I think the LHP could deliver, so unless there is scope for Developer funding or funding the scheme through other means I am doubtful if this is viable request. Its really more of a Major Project rather than an LHP request.
3 Traffic Calming Scheme for High Lane – is this potential scheme LUTT202026? Downgrade the B1351 (High Lane) from the junction with the B184 through to Lower Street – If it is this scheme, it is currently on hold dependent on the result of the Feasibility Study in Grove Hill – I am not sure if this is the same thing or not? The Grove Hill feasibility study is a funded scheme for this year carried over from last year.
4 Proper surfacing of footpath linking King Charles Drive to Cambridge Road – this is potential scheme LUTT223008 and is currently in validation with Highways Design.
5 Town Twinning Signs at entrances to the village (x 3) – I’m sorry but I don’t know and cannot find anything recorded on the system about this one.
6 Zebra Crossing on Silver Street – this is potential scheme LUTT223002 and is currently in validation with Highways Design
7 Partial closure of Pennington Lane – this is potential scheme LUTT212032 and is currently in validation with Highways Design
8 Junction improvements – Chapel Hill with Cambridge Road/Silver Street – Sorry, I have been unable to find any record of this.
9 Creation of parking bays to replace some verges on the Mountfitchet Estate – Sorry, I have been unable to find any record of this, if you have any road names in particular where this was being requested, I am happy to look again?
10 Proposal to narrow the pavement to allow “two wheels on” parking in Lower Street – Sorry, I have been unable to find any record of this request.
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. – I haven’t been able to find anything for this one either – I am not sure what is referred to by ‘upgrade’, if you are referring to changing the crossing to a signalised type, we would need to undertake a traffic survey as a first step, but we require a very high pedestrian verses vehicle counts for a signalised crossing to be considered, signalised crossings also require room on the highway to install the necessary equipment which cannot be done unless there is space on the footway to accommodate – they are also very expensive to install and maintain.
There have been some recent changes to the way scheme requests are submitted in that schemes are now to be requested online through the website by the County Member, but the way in which you would submit a scheme remains the same (I suggest you continue to use the form) and it still goes through the County Member for support as it did previously. The change in process is that if the County Member wishes to support the request, they then submit the request directly on to the website and it is immediately added to the list of proposed schemes. Once the website goes ‘live’ (soon I hope) anyone will be able to access the schemes list and obtain information about the status of schemes.