Minutes of a meeting of the Highways Sub-Committee held at 7.30pm on Wednesday 13th October 2021. This was an in-person meeting with some members of the public attending via the Zoom platform.
PRESENT Cllr G Sell (Chairman), Cllrs M Caton, M Jessup, A Khan and F Richards Peter Jones and Raymond Woodcock
Mrs Emma Philbrick – Trainee Deputy Clerk
Cllrs A Barnes, A Guney, P Davies and J Kavanagh
County Councillor Ray Gooding
1 member of the press
15 members of the public
199 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr O’Brien as he is away on holiday.
Having been proposed by Cllr Caton and seconded by Cllr Jessup it was unanimously:
RESOLVED to accept apologies for absence from Cllr O’Brien
Apologies were also received from the Clerk Ruth Clifford
200 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Cllr Sell – Lives in Spencer Close
Cllr Richards – Lives in Spencer Close
Ray Woodcock – Lives on Chapel Hill and is a member of the Grove Hill group
201 TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 2ND JUNE 2021
RESOLVED to accept the minutes of the meeting held on 2nd June 2021 as a true and accurate account
202 TO RECEIVE THE CHAIRMAN’S REPORT – Nothing to report that isn’t on the agenda
203 TO RECEIVE THE CLERKS REPORT
The Clerk’s report was circulated to members ahead of the meeting.
Peter Jones asked if Annette Thornton is still an employee of the County as she is not on the published ECC staff list. Cty Cllr Gooding has tried to find out and is unsure also. It was agreed that the office would look into this.
Ray Woodcock asked if the outstanding action points from the last meeting would still be dealt with and it was confirmed they would.
204 TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE CHAIRMAN FOLLOWING A MEETING WITH CHAPEL HILL RESIDENTS
The Chairman advised that he had attended a meeting along with District Councillor Alan Dean which was set up by the residents of Chapel Hill to discuss their ideas to deal with the traffic issues. The main issue is cars racing up and down the hill and mounting the pavement. They would like to see priority given to traffic going up the hill to stop congestion down the bottom where the roundabout is and crossing, they would also welcome a speed limit and double yellow lines up to the fire station. One resident would also like to see the traffic being made one way in St John’s Road so that no one could exit from that road onto Chapel Hill. A barrier at the Memorial Gardens was also suggested to ensure the safety of users especially children. The situation has worsened over the last few years especially with parents and children now going to and from Magna Carta as it expands into a full school. Cllr Richards advised that it was not just Magna Carta but also Rainbows as they were expanding and the children attending are younger. She also highlighted that traffic very rarely stopped for the crossing at the top of Chapel Hill by the fire station as traffic coming up the hill could not see so double yellow lines would be a benefit. Cllr Khan introduced himself and supported all comments and suggestions made and that if the one-way system is proposed then it should be investigated as an option but only after a consultation with residents has been conducted.
Peter Jones commented that the gate on the Memorial Gardens would be the easiest to agree but that the priority going up the hill would be tricky as during busy periods traffic would not give way resulting in gridlock especially if yellow lines are not extended further up. He also commented that the 20mph speed limit is fine but suspects that it would need to be for a broader area and parameters worked out. Ray Woodcock advised he is a resident of Chapel Hill and had unfortunately not been invited to the meeting but that the last survey completed by Essex County Council was done in 2016 so there were no real data available. He suggested that proper traffic surveys should be carried out on all the main roads in Stansted. He also believed that traffic priority going up the hill would contravene Highway laws and would cause difficulties. Speedwatch do not measure the traffic on Chapel Hill so there was no data on the speed of cars using the road. This is down to Essex Police who dictate where the speed checks take place, and that Cambridge Road is a much more dangerous road. Ray believed that one issue that can be resolved immediately is for Essex County Council to remove the Ivy which is reducing the width of the pavement.
Cllr Sell is concerned that travel has not yet got back to the levels pre-Covid and that any surveys need to reflect the true picture of the traffic issues. The Council would want to decide when and for what period of time that the surveys take place. Cllr Jessup suggested that parking could be moved to the other side of the road to protect people on the pavement. He also advised that the criteria for the 20mph speed limit requires mean speed to be under 24mph and that they are also loathed to introduce them onto A and B roads and is there any record of serious injury?
It was agreed that the office would check with the authorities on how many accidents on Chapel Hill have been recorded.
Cty Cllr Gooding advised that trying to get priority for traffic going up the Hill would be difficult as the narrowing is not caused by a chicane but by parked cars which come and go so is not permanent and would be unenforceable. Traffic surveys don’t just need to look at numbers but also speed and the type of vehicles and he believes that the entire centre of Stansted needs to be looked at and not just Chapel Hill. Cty Cllr Gooding also believes that 20 is plenty is unsuccessful and it is advisory and not enforceable. Cllr Khan disputed this and that the informal 20 in plenty has plenty of evidence of success and he himself has seen how it works in areas of London where everyone does obey the limit. He believes that it is worth giving it a try as there is nothing to lose and that we need to do it for the residents and children.
Cllr Caton commented that giving priority direction of travel does not work. The experience of Church Road is that cars speed to get through the chicane first. Communication is taking place already with Cty Cllr Gooding and Cabinet Member Cllr Lee Scott for an assessment of the whole of the village as everyone wants the best outcome for the village.
Residents of Chapel Hill were asked to take pictures of any vehicles driving on the pavement as photographic evidence has worked with incidents on Grove Hill including getting a driver prosecuted for jumping the red light.
It was agreed that Cllr Sell and Cty Cllr Gooding would work together on a contingency plan for Chapel Hill in case the bigger plans for the village did not go ahead.
205 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE FROM COUNTY COUNCILLOR GOODING ON THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
a) OUTCOMES FOLLOWING VISIT FROM CLLR LEE SCOTT – ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL
Cllr Lee Scott got a very good idea of the issues in the village during his visit and he is meeting with officers. His initial reaction is to deal with Grove Hill as a single entity and they would look at reversing the weight limit and trial a new electronic system that would record vehicles breaching this and issue fines automatically. Cty Cllr Gooding advised that his preferred option was that they look at Stansted as a whole and put a weight limit on the entire village to stop heavy goods vehicles entering all entrances by having surveillance cameras at each entry point. Any vehicles breaking this would be recorded and fines issued. It would cause issues for delivery vehicles but there can be a caveat written in. Funding could be achieved for this so he will be pushing this idea with officers.
Ray Woodcock voiced his concerns of two new developments (Elsenham and Henham) that have been given permission could start to push forward and the heavy goods vehicles for the sites would travel through Stansted. Could anything be done to stop this? Cllr Sell agreed to contact Nigel Brown to find out who the developers for this site would be so they could be contacted to find out a start date for the works.
After more discussions it was agreed to support the vision by Cty Cllr Gooding for the whole of Stansted. Cty Cllr Gooding outlined that currently this is just an aspiration and does not know if it will be achieved. It was also agreed that it would be requested through the Highways Panel for surveys to take place in the centre of Stansted.
Cllr Khan asked if there as a maintenance schedule for the drains to be cleared on Church Road especially now we are entering into the winter months. Cty Cllr Gooding advised that he met on site with Highways Officers and they are scheduling a jetting procedure on all drains along there. The size of the drains and runs may be an issue so they will be completing a survey whilst carrying out the jetting. Where the chicanes are they suspect that the narrow gullies may be inadequate. He has also asked for surveys on Hargrave Close.
b) ENFORCEMENT OF WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS ON GROVE HILL – MINUTES NO 68
c) DATE FOR A MULTI-AGENCY MEETING TO DISCUSS FLOODING
Awaiting a date still.
d) REQUEST FROM RESIDENT FOR PEDESTRIAN CROSSING ON SILVER STREET
A resident had written to Cty Cllr Gooding requesting a crossing be installed on Silver Street close to Blythwood Gardens as crossing especially with children was extremely dangerous.
Ray Woodcock commented that he thought this was an excellent idea as it would also help reduce the excessive speed on the road.
Cty Cllr Gooding advised that a crossing on Silver Street a bit further along had been turned down as it had not met the criteria at the time but that this should be put forward for next years Local Highways Panel. He commented that he thought a pelican crossing would be better as lights would stop the traffic whereas they might not stop for a zebra crossing.
After more comments and support from members it was unanimously agreed to formally request through the Uttlesford Local Highways Panel for a pelican crossing for the 2022/23 programme. The resident who made the request is also going to get the support from neighbours to support the application and Ray Woodcock will obtain speedwatch data also.
206 TO CONSIDER APPLYING FOR WAITING RESTRICTIONS ON SECTIONS OF THE FOLLOWING ROADS:
a) WALSON WAY
Cllr Richards commented that the road was a dreadful rat run with parking on both sides with no one giving way. It is an accident waiting to happen and yellow lines are needed on at least one side. Cllr Khan agreed with these comments but stressed that the council needed to consider the unintended consequences for yellow lines and this could increase the speeding if roads were clear of parked cars. Peter Jones commented that the blind bend was particularly dangerous and should have yellow lines on both sides. Although correspondence had been received from local residents requesting the yellow lines, there were also a number of residents who were unhappy about the proposal so it was agreed to undertake a consultation with residents before any decision was made.
b) CAMBRIDGE ROAD
Cllr Sell advised that a resident had been in consultation with the Parish Council for a number of years and members agreed that there is an issue there and getting out of the small close is not easy. It was agreed that Cty Cllr Gooding would look into what provision could be put into place for residents if double yellow lines were to be introduced on both sides. A formal request would be made for this by the Parish Council
c) NEWELL ROAD/BAYFORD WAY/BENTLEY DRIVE
A resident had contacted the Parish Council with photographic evidence of the parking issues and why double yellow lines should be requested. After discussions it was unanimously agreed to move forward with this and apply through the North Essex Parking Partnership.
d) SPENCER CLOSE
As a resident of Spencer Close, Cllrs Sell and Richards outlined the issues with the parking into the entrance of Spencer Close. Cllr Richards advised that the request for an extension of the lines already there to cover another car length to stop cars parking opposite each other and blocking the entrance meaning emergency vehicles could also not enter. Ray Woodcock spoke in support of this. He lives opposite the junction and sees the issues daily. The request had been raised approx. 8 years ago and approved by the North Essex Parking Partnership but the application was lost in the system and a new application now has to be made. With Cllrs Sell and Richards abstaining all other members voted to go ahead with the request again.
Cllr Paul Davies joined the meeting via Zoom
e) CHAPEL HILL
This is for the top of Chapel Hill by the old post office. Cllr Richards commented that this was another application that had previously been agreed but lost in the system without the work being carried out. Cllr Richards advised that the parking was causing a safety issue with the crossing. Ray Woodcock commented that this had previously been agreed and lines were needed between The Recreation Ground and the old post office. With Ray Woodcock abstaining as he is a resident, all other members agreed to go ahead with the request.
f) MOUNTFITCHET ESTATE
This is for lines to be put on the roads surrounding the play areas and for lines on all of the entrances to the roads surrounding that area. Cllr Khan voiced his support for this as a sensible option although the unintended consequences needed to be considered also. Having spoken to residents in the area previously including some elderly there is clearly an issue and from his communications this would have the support of a number of residents. Cllr Barnes commented that as part of their consultation with residents regarding play equipment a lot of concerns were raised regarding the parking especially on the corners. After more discussion it was agreed to look more in depth at what was needed and come up with a plan which will then go out for consultation with residents.
207 TO CONSIDER A LETTER FROM RESIDENTS OF KING CHARLES DRIVE
A letter had been received from a resident voicing their concerns regarding issues with thedeveloper. Cty Cllr Gooding confirmed he had also recently been made aware of this and is asking Highways Officers to take a look as both the developers and Highways are suggesting not their responsibility. He will continue to work on this to find out who is. Peter Jones commented that he had taken a walk there and the screening was poor, scrubby and had gaps. It needs putting right but who would fund it and do the work? The biggest risk he felt was the lack of light as it was pitch black and you cannot see where you are going. Cllr Kavanagh read out some of the conditions of the planning application and some of the Planning Officers comments. None of these made it clear where responsibility lies.
Cllr Khan asked if the site had been signed off? Cllr Sell agreed to contact Nigel Brown – UDC – to highlight the concerns and to find out if the 106 had been signed off or not.
Cllr Davies commented that this is something he had been highlighting for a while now and that it was unsafe and asked for a contingency to be put into place whilst needing to find out who is responsible. As well as Cllr Sell and Cty Cllr Gooding doing what was agreed above it was also agreed to put the suggestion of lighting along that part of Cambridge Road on the next F&GP Agenda.
208 TO CONSIDER CORRESPONDENCE FROM A RESIDENT RELATING TO CAMBRIDGE ROAD
A letter had been received from a resident regarding the excessive speed of cars travelling on Cambridge Road. Members all agreed that they had witnessed this on a regular basis and that something needed to be done. These concerns will be relayed to Essex Police.
209 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON SECTON 106 PROJECTS FROM THE CLERK
Covered in the Clerk’s report
210 TO CONSIDER HOW TO PROGRESS THE CLOSURE OF A SECTION OF PENNINGTON LANE BETWEEN RAINSFORD ROAD AND B1383 AS AGREED AT FULL COUNCIL ON 9TH JUNE 2021
As this had already previously been agreed at Full Council it was unanimously agreed to put this forward as an S106 scheme
211 UTTLESFORD LOCAL HIGHWAYS PANEL
a) TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE CHAIRMAN ON SUBMITTED PROJECTS
b) TO CONSIDER SUGGESTIONS FROM MEMBERS FOR FUTURE PROJECTS
Suggestions made earlier on in the meeting will be put forward.
Meeting closed at 9.47pm
203 Office to find out if Annette Thornton is still an employee at County
203 Gypsy Lane – Obtain accident data // 20 is Plenty – Collate poll results
204 Office to obtain accident data recorded for Chapel Hill
204 Cllr Sell and Cty Cllr Gooding to work together on a contingency plan for Chapel Hill
205a Cllr Sell to contact Nigel Brown to find out developers for the Elsenham and Henham sites and contact them to obtain start dates.
205d Put a formal request into ULHP for a pelican crossing on Silver Street
206a Undertake consultation with residents
206b Cty Cllr Gooding to look into what provisions could be put into place for residents if double yellow lines put in
206b Make a formal request for double yellow lines on both sides of the road
206c Make a formal request for double yellow lines
206d Make a formal request for double yellow lines
206e Make a formal request for double yellow lines between turn for the Recreation Ground and The Old Post Office
206f Look more in depth at what is needed and form a plan to go out for consultation with residents
207 Cty Cllr Gooding to look into who is responsible
207 Cllr Sell to contact Nigel Brown and highlight concerns and find out if the S106 has been signed off
207 A request for lighting to be put on the F&GP Agenda
208 Concerns to be relayed to Essex Police
210 Put forward as a S106 scheme