Minutes of a meeting of the HIGHWAYS SUB-COMMITTEE held at 7.30pm on Wednesday 20th July 2022 in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex.
PRESENT Cllr G Sell (Chair), Cllrs M Jessup, A Khan, J O’Brien, L Prior, F Richards. Mr R Woodcock (co-opted)
Mrs Ruth Clifford – Parish Clerk
Cllr P Jones (via Zoom)
Cty Cllr Ray Gooding
2 members of the public
116 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Received from Cllr Caton (holiday) and for not being present in-person from Cllr Jones (holiday).
RESOLVED to accept the apologies presented.
Cty Cllr Gooding had informed the Clerk that he would be late arriving.
117 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – None.
118 TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETINGS HELD ON 4TH APRIL AND 11TH MAY 2022
The Clerk reminded members that following the meeting on 4th April, she had circulated an email to the sub-committee clarifying some issues that had been raised. It was agreed that the email should be posted with the approved minutes on the Council’s website.
RESOLVED to accept the minutes of the meetings held on 4th April and 11th May as a true and accurate account.
119 UPDATE ON PROGRESS SINCE THE LAST MEETING
Updates on various schemes and traffic counts to be requested from Cty Cllr Gooding when he arrives.
Cllr Sell reported the latest position relating to footpaths at King Charles Drive. He aims to attend the planning committee meeting when the application is discussed. It would be beneficial to have a Parish Council representative presend also. All schemes agreed have been submitted to North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) or the Uttlesford Local Highways Panel (ULHP) with the exception of 206a – Walson Way. It had been agreed under minute 414 that a more detailed review of parking on the Foresthall Park development should take place – this is on the agenda. The Foresthall Park S.106 fund is also an agenda item.
Cllrs Khan and Jones both commented that Stansted is not receiving a good service from Essex Highways currently. Communication is poor and maintenance almost non-existent. Timescales for projects are needed in order to allow parish councillors to report back to parishioners otherwise it appears that parish councillors are not taking any action to lobby or push for projects to be progressed.
120 TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE CHAIR
Nothing in addition to the items on the agenda.
Cty Cllr Gooding joined the meeting
121 UPDATE FROM CTY CLLR GOODING ON VARIOUS HIGHWAY PROJECTS
A Changes to HGV restrictions
Cllr Gooding reported that the ULHP had approved £25,000 for a feasibility study to be undertaken by Ringway Jacobs. The study would include looking at the alternative traffic routes to ensure that the problem is not just moved to another area. He stated that the package would also include discussions with neighbouring councils and should include traffic counts.
The proposed scheme would take effect on all roads into Stansted with the exception of the B1383. Plenty of advance warning signs would be required. The legislation to introduce such a scheme already exists. However, the most effective form of enforcement would be via remote or hand-held cameras and it is the use of this technology that requires Parliamentary approval which is still awaited. Cllr Lee Scott is pushing hard for this as it could be used across the county.
Cllr Khan sought clarity on the Terms of Reference for the feasibility study and asked to see the full details, together with the proposed timescales. Cllr Gooding agreed to obtain this information. Cllr Jones questioned why it has taken so long to get to this stage when the scheme has been in the pipeline for months and supported the request for a timetable. Cllr Gooding reported that Essex Highways had devolved it to the ULHP to commission the study and this has now been done. It is hard to demonstrate the amount of work that has to go on behind the scenes to get to this stage. Cllr Sell stated that the displacement effect is of concern but hoped that the views of other communities would not be given priority over the residents of Grove Hill.
Talking about alternative routes, Cllr O’Brien flagged his concern that the airport may refuse traffic to be re-routed along roads which they own. Cllr Gooding stated that those roads are still public highways and can be used.
Reference was made to meetings that have taken place in the past with Cty Cllr Lee Scott but to which the Parish Council have not been invited. Cllr Gooding has taken this on board. It is essential that all parties are kept informed of progress – or lack of it.
B Applications to the ULHP
Cllr Gooding stated that the application for a pelican crossing on Silver Street, close to Blythwood Gardens, was not agreed, but a zebra crossing had been approved and the design work for that would now start. The Clerk asked if the Belisha beacons could be the type with halo lights as these were more visible than the traditional ones. These had been requested for the new crossing near the BP garage but this had been ignored and those lights are not effective. Similarly, the application submitted previously to upgrade the beacons on the crossing at the top of Chapel Hill appeared to have been lost in the system. Agreed that the Clerk should submit a new application. Cllr Jones referred to the National Planning Policy Framework
(NPPF) which states clearly that walking should be a priority and pedestrians should be safe – Essex Highways need to prioritise this.
C Maintenance of Footways
Cllr Gooding referred in particular to the footway along the B1383 towards Birchanger and alongside the Elsenham Road. The maintenance of these paths, and others like them, had been devolved from Essex Highways to the Uttlesford Highway Rangers. However, as they are not allowed to undertake traffic management, they are unable to work beyond the 30mph limits. There are moves afoot to return this maintenance to a central Essex Team who have the ability to put up traffic management systems if required.
D Church Road drains
When investigated, the problems were not as serious as had been feared so the work was undertaken quickly. However, further gulley clearance work was identified and this will be undertaken during the Affinity Water closure of the road next week.
There is funding available to repair major potholes – please notify any known to Cty Cllr Gooding.
Cllr Khan referred to an issue faced by a resident at Burton End in relation to maintenance of a public right of way – he would pass the details to Cllr Gooding who could hopefully assist.
122 FORESTHALL PARK – TO DISCUSS A TIMESCALE/STRATEGY FOR CONSIDERING AND CONSULTING ON ANY PROPOSED WAITING RESTRICTIONS
The Clerk reminded members that the last meeting had agree to undertake a review of FHP and she outlined a proposed strategy:
- Set up a working group
- Review the existing information received
- Invite further comments from residents via social media, The Link and perhaps a letter drop to all homes on FHP
- Undertake site visits
- Identify a list of the issues arising and discuss options with the NEPP
- Consult with residents once the options are known
- Evaluate comments received
- Report back to the sub-committee with findings and recommendations
- Highways sub-committee to take final decision
- Report back to residents
Agreed that the working group should comprise 3 councillors and 3 residents. Cllrs Jones, Khan and Prior volunteered. Cllr Khan stated that Dist Cllr Caton should also be invited to join as his fellow ward member. Agreed that communication with residents is key and an article seeking residents’ participation should be placed on the FHP residents’ Facebook page.
The Clerk and Chair of sub-committee will assist in pushing this project forward.
Cllr Gooding commented that the airport-related “no parking” signs which have been erected are unlawful. In response to Cllr Prior he stated that any attached to Essex CC assets were at risk of being removed.
Cty Cllr Gooding left the meeting
123 MOUNTFITCHET ESTATE
A To ratify the decision made in relation to the proposed residents’ parking scheme
Cllr Prior asked what actions could be taken now that the residents had voted against such a scheme. The Clerk outlined a scheme discussed by Essex, Uttlesford and the Parish some while ago which would see the worn verges converted to official, tarmacked parking bays. No funding stream has ever been identified, but it has now been submitted to Essex to be funded under the Foresthall Park Highways S.106 fund – a decision is awaited.
Cllr Prior asked about enforcement to keep airport parkers away and it was agreed that visual signs were probably the only option. Cllr Khan stated that some residents have multiple cars in the household and, as such, no decision will ever be reached that suits everyone. He had suggested to his contact at the Airport that their own car parking charges should be reduced to encourage travellers to park there. This has, apparently, been considered but rejected on the basis that car use should be discouraged for environmental reasons.
Having been proposed by Cllr Sell and seconded by Cllr Khan, it was unanimously
RESOLVED not to submit an application to the NEPP for a Residents’ Parking Scheme.
B To consider a request to the NEPP for waiting restrictions around the estate
The working group looking at this had taken into account some of the views received from members of the public and were of the opinion that two areas on Stoneyfield Drive could be removed from the plan. Cllr Prior stated that the plan should be put on the Council’s website and it should be made clear to residents that they could be ticketed for parking on the grass at junctions as the red lines apply to the verges as well as to the road. Having been proposed by Cllr Sell and seconded by Cllr O’Brien it was unanimously
RESOLVED to submit an application to the NEPP for red line restrictions around the estate as shown on the plan.
Cllr Khan stated that the working group would be putting thank you letters through the doors of the residents who had responded, together with the findings of the consultation.
124 HIGH LANE – TO CONSIDER WHETHER SPEED REDUCTION MEASURES ARE NECESSARY OR FEASIBLE
The Chairman reported that he had recently been contacted by a High Lane resident concerned about speeding traffic. The lady was present at the meeting and he invited her to address members.
The lady gave background to how long she has lived on High Lane and the difficulties that she encounters entering and exiting her driveway. Drivers leaving the village northwards on High Lane speed up well before they are out of the 30mph zome. Mr Woodcock stated that data collected by the SpeedWatch team would confirm this – most likely in both directions – with some offenders travelling in excess of 50mph.
Cllr Jones confirmed that this is a route he walks regularly and pedestrians are also put at risk by having no continuous pavement and having to cross back and forth. After further discussion, it was unanimously agreed that the Clerk should submit a request to the ULHP for traffic calming measures. A scheme similar to that in Rye Street was discussed, whereby zebra crossings are combined with raised cushions but it would be for the professionals at Essex to see what options could be offered.
125 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON S.106 PROJECTS
The Clerk gave some background to the projects put forward for funding and explained why some of them were not being progressed by Essex Highways. The proposal to improve traffic flows along Cambridge Road has been with the design team for a couple of years and an email has now been received to say that only one part of the scheme – the creation of a parking bay near to the Woodgrill – is not affordable within the funds remaining. Cllr Jones expressed his anger that it has taken so long for Essex to reach this conclusion with no explanation as to why the other elements of the scheme cannot be progressed. After brief discussion it was agreed to officially withdraw our request for the Cambridge Road scheme.
The one scheme remaining was referred to in item 123b above – the creation of parking bays around the Mountfitchet Estate – but a decision on whether this can be funded is awaited.
According to the s.106 officer, a scheme in Birchanger for a Clearway has been added to the programme at the request of the ULHP. Members expressed their displeasure that such a scheme should be included under this FHP fund and the matter should be raised with Cty Cllr Gooding for clarification. Cllr Khan proposed that we lobby strongly against the Clearway project.
The s.106 officer asked members to consider any other scheme to be put forward to utilise the funds remaining which stand at around £250,000. Cllr Jones referred back to previous discussions about long term solutions to widen the Church Road footway which would incur some capital cost and should therefore be eligible for funding. He offered to work with Cllr O’Brien to draw up a specification to submit.
126 UTTLESFORD LOCAL HIGHWAYS PANEL
This item had been covered by the Clerk under item 119 above and two suggestions for future projects were agreed under 121b and 124 above.
Meeting closed at 9.45pm
118 Clerks clarification email to be posted on website
121a Cllr Gooding to obtain Terms of Reference for the feasibility study together with timescales
121b Clerk to submit application for new style beacons
121e Members to report any potholes to Cty Cllr Gooding
122 Working Group to draft article seeking residents’ participation which is to be placed on the FHP residents’ Facebook page by the office.
123b Submit an application to the NEPP for red line restrictions around the Mountfitchet Estate
124 Clerk to submit a request to the ULHP for traffic calming measures
125 Officially withdraw request for the Cambridge Road scheme
125 Cllr Jones to work with Cllr O’Brien to draw up a specification for works on Church Road footway
Outcome of Consultation on the proposed Residents’ Parking Scheme – Mountfitchet Estate
First, we would like to thank the residents who took the time to respond to the consultation. We distributed letters to 225 households and received 89 replies.
85 households objected to the introduction of the permit scheme (37.8%) and therefore the scheme will not be going ahead as it could not achieve 75% support.
The Parish Council’s Highways Sub-Committee is expected to ratify the outcome at its meeting later this month.
Below is a summary of the reasons for objection:
REASONS GIVEN FOR OBJECTION NUMBER OF HOUSEHOLDS OBJECTING DUE TO THIS REASON
Financial – Do not agree with the high charges and cannot afford them 34
Principle – Do not agree should pay to park where they live 20
Scheme will not have a positive outcome to parking issues 2
Not enough space for all cars 1
Too many cars in household 4
Manchester Airport should pay as its their high charges causing the issues 6
No parking issues on the Mountfitchet Estate 5
The new signage is already working 1
Would like to see if the new signs work before implementing another scheme 2
Many of your comments were detailed and gave a clear insight into why you felt this was not appropriate. Below is a snapshot of some of those comments:
- We have lived on the estate for around six and a half years and have not noticed any discernible issue with commuter and airport parking (the occasional case, but nothing of significant note).
- We would support the scheme if not for the ridiculously high cost of residents permits
- In practice due to the airport/railway parkers we often have to park on the verge, taking care not to block the pavement, in order to unload equipment such as lawnmowers and gardening equipment and weekly shopping.
- I do agree that there should be the installation of red lines where parking is often dangerous
- We appreciate the airport signs that have gone up around the estate and surely first we should be seeing if this is deterrent enough before adding lines and permits. Priority should be cutting the hedges as we are in a blind corner and already had one car written off there, closing the gap on our corner ot the park so children aren’t using a dangerous ‘run out’ from the green
- I am all for the red lines being introduced. I think it is needed as a matter of urgency. People leaving vehicles on grass verges or two wheels up on the kerb restricts the motorists view of oncoming traffic.
- I do not support this scheme at all as I would be unable to afford the fees for such permit. I need to park my car as close to my home as possible as a foster carer to babies and young children but my income is not enough to cover permit fees.
- Due to the amount of cars that we need to have, we’re strongly of the opinion that the residents’ parking permits should be scrapped. While we understand that airport parking has become a big issue on the surrounding street, Manor Road is generally so full of cars that we do not see many people use the road who do not already live here, or who are not visiting residents.
- As a pensioner I would not be able to afford the cost of permits. Since introduction of the No Parking Airport Parking Signs, there seem to be an improvement in the situation.
- In this road we are not bothered by commuter parking, and I feel permit parking would cause undue stress.
- I would be concerned that residents who could not afford the on-road permits would end up parking in the cul-de-sacs along Manor Road, potentially clogging up those zones for cul-de-sac residents.
- We are against introducing Residents’ Parking. We currently don’t have a problem with commuters or airport parking outside our house. In other areas of the estate, they have had notices put up saying no commuter parking.
- Many residents already take parking into their own hands – leaving bins and other items in the road to stop other people from parking there. If they have to pay to park, I worry this will increase the sense of entitlement to park directly outside your own house, causing issues for others. This is already a problem with certain houses on the estate and I can only see this getting worse if people have to start paying.
We also received a number of questions to put to the North Essex Parking Partnership and below is their response to these which we publish for your information:
1 Is there a discount for senior citizens? No
2 Can the first permit to each household be given for free and they pay for any additional vehicles? There are no free permits in circulation
3 Why are the charges so high compared to Harlow for instance? When NEPP assumed responsibility for permits across the North of Essex there were various levels of charges which have been adjusted over time to be more comparable.
4 Why will no other options be available until 2026 if the residents don’t support this scheme? We have limited resources, and our Board/partners will not keep entertaining requests for schemes/restrictions to be considered. It is worth noting that we have no legal responsibility to make changes on the Highway and we receive no independent funding.
5 Is there any discount or allowance for registered disabled especially if more than one member of the household is disabled? A national exemption exists enabling any disabled badge holder to park in any permit zone or bay in England & Wales.
6 Will car owners get a ticket if they park on the grass verge where there are red lines? Already responded to in a previous reply arranged separately. Whilst this scenario does appear to suggest that the verge could be enforced, the footway would need to run parallel with the road edge, so in this case a separate restriction may be needed.
7 If a household owns 3 cars of which only one of these will be parked on the road at any time as they have a driveway for 2 cars, can they buy a permit based on the house so that any one of the cars can use it or would they need to obtain a permit for each car? It is not always the same car out of the 3 which parks on the road. The answer is ‘almost’. A resident permit can have a maximum of two vehicles on a permit, so in this case, it would be any of two vehicles that could be on the road whilst the others are on the drive. The resident would need to decide on a vehicle that is always on the drive. The alternative is to purchase a first and a second resident permit and put two vehicles on one permit and one vehicle on the other, this way all 3 are covered regardless of which one is on the road. I hope that made sense? it can get a little confusing the whole ‘two vehicles on one permit’ scenario.
8 The NEPP are in Stansted daily so why can they not pay more visits to the estate? NEPP will attend areas as often as practicable and when resources allow.
9 NEPP is owned by Colchester Council so shouldn’t they be a non-profitable organisation? NEPP is not “owned” by Colchester Borough Council. A lead Authority is required in terms of the Governance and our Political procedures in place. We do not make profits but must ensure that our operations are self-funding as we do not receive any funding from any partner authority member/ECC or Central Government. Any surplus made above and beyond our operating costs is re-invested in Highway based works and projects
Finally, the proposals for the red lines will go to the Highways Sub-Committee for ratification. The main aim of these is to protect the bus route around the estate and to encourage those who have parking to the rear of their properties to use it rather than parking on the street
You are summoned to attend a meeting of the HIGHWAYS SUB-COMMITTEE which will be held on Wednesday 20th July 2022 at 7.30pm in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted, Essex where the following business will be transacted:
1 To approve apologies for absence
2 To receive declarations of interest
3 To approve the minutes of the meetings held on 4th April and 11th May 2022
4 To receive an update on progress since the last meeting
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 Foresthall Park – To discuss a timescale/strategy for considering and consulting on any proposed waiting restrictions
8 Mountfitchet Estate:
a) To ratify the decision made in relation to the proposed residents’ parking scheme
b) To consider a request to the North Essex Parking Partnership for waiting restrictions around the estate
9 High Lane – To consider whether speed reduction measures are necessary or feasible
10 To receive an update on Section 106 projects
11 Uttlesford Local Highways Panel
- a) To receive a report from the Chair/Clerk on submitted projects
- b) To consider suggestions from members for future projects
Ruth Clifford, Parish Clerk 14 July 2022