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Archive for Highways & Parking

Some Thoughts After The Review Committee

The District Council’s Review Committee met on Wednesday evening. It’s a bit like a House of Commons Select Committee , it’s there to scrutinise what the council does, and to review things.

The biggest item on Wednesday was to discuss homelessness in our district, and a representative from Rochford Housing Association, plus Cllr Jo Mcpherson (the council’s Portfolio Holder on the subject) were there to answer questions. It was a good meeting where people from 4 political groups worked together. Councillors duly asked lots of questions, though we probably really only scratched the surface, and need to learn more.

What came to mind was that we have , in Jo Mcpherson, a councillor who is really engrossed in her area of responsibility, and wants to communicate with other councillors. We also have councillors who want to learn more. In the ‘good old days’ of the committee system this could happen much more easily. We had a Health and Housing Committee where councillors could learn as they spent years on the committee steadily gaining knowledge….

Another topic was car parking charges. Usage of council car parks has gone up despite the increase in charges last year. Cllr Toby Mountain suggested the council could be a bit more generous now, by for example, stopping charging at 6 pm rather than at 7. Cllr Chris Black backed that and said we could also support traders by adding two more free Saturday mornings to the calendar – the first two Saturdays after Christmas. This would help with the trader’s winter sales. Both these ideas were supported by other members, and we expect some further discussion on this in order to get them agreed by council.

Three Highways Issues In Downhall Park Way


Three issues in Downhall Park Way:

First of all, someone has suggested having yellow lines at the junction of Downhall Park Way with Rawreth Lane. These would be standard ‘junction protection’ lines simply to stop motorists parking too close to the junction. Any thoughts about that?

A second person has expressed their concern about the high speeds of a small number of cars in Downhall Park Way. We might be able to get temporary signs that flash when drivers exceed the limit. Again, do people have any thoughts about that?

Thirdly, we have asked County Highways to repaint the Give Way lines at the junctions of Downhall Park Way and Harberts Way.

Teignmouth Drive Issues


Ron and Chris were contacted a little while back by a resident regarding parking in Teignmouth Drive , Rayleigh. The issue is the amount of on-street parking near the junction with Down Hall Road, and the resident asked for the yellow lines at the junction (which Chris arranged in about 1988) to extend a little further down.

Ron raised this with the “South Essex Parking Partnership” who are a consortium of local councils, but its’ been rejected. Their latest response said:

  • Teignmouth Drive already has 15 metres of junction protection, which is in excess of the advice given in the highway code.
  • There is no evidence to suggest parked vehicles have caused any road traffic collisions.
  • It is acknowledged that parked vehicle act as a natural traffic calming measure, even if it means drivers may have to stop for short periods due to the volume of traffic using the road at certain times of the day.
  • As previously mentioned the SEPP have a limited budget to provide parking restrictions and it is essential that it is spent on schemes where major parking issues exist. The process of providing parking restrictions is a lengthy and costly process. The estimated cost to extend the double yellow lines at this location is £1500.
  • Meanwhile , separate from this, County Highways are going to be doing a speed check in Teignmouth Drive and Exmouth Drive to see if a speed limit of 20 mph is appropriate here, bearing in mind this is near a school. The limit can only be introduced if the average speed in the survey is below 25 mph.

    Any thoughts from our residents on either ideas?

    Essex Comes Second For Pothole Claims In England !


    According to the RAC, Essex County Council still has the second highest figure in England of legal claims against it for damage cause by potholes !  You can download their data here. Only Surrey County Council had more claims. In the financial  year 2013-2014  there were 2548 claims, totally over £156,000. But the County Council only paid out on 98 of them.




    Well Done Essex Water

    One of our onlineFOCUS readers informed us about a hole in the pavement in Down Hall Road (thank you, you know who you are!). It was caused by a badly broken Essex Water Company cover, leaving a hole nasty enough for someone to trip over , or maybe sprain an ankle, especially in the dark.

    We reported it to Essex and Suffolk Water, who fixed it in about 2 days. That’s not all, their customer service people even phoned back to check everything was OK now.

    Perhaps County Highways could learn from them.



    Priory Chase Parking

    We have just been advised that the following public notice will be in the Castle Point, Rayleigh and Rochford Standard on 15 January 2015 (click on the image to enlarge):

    priory chase order

    Tonight’s Council Meeting

    It was reasonably lively but without any bad temper. Here’s a few points:

    Council Chairman June Lumley was admirably frugal tonight. Most Council Chairman request a buffet with wine for councillors on the night of the December meeting. June didn’t do this, but did arrange refreshments to the public who attended the Civic Carol Service on Sunday, which raised about £245 for charity.

    Green Party Leader Michael Hoy made the best point of the evening. The decision to offer free parking on 3 Saturday afternoons before Christmas was taken as “an urgent item” which couldn’t be challenged. Michael asked why the decision was taken so late in the year that it had to be an urgent item. “Didn’t the Council know Christmas was coming?” The answer given was that the council didn’t know it could afford this until quite late in the year. John Mason and Chris Black followed this up later with some forensic questioning , which revealed that the council knew in June it had about £60,000 available – the cost of 3 free Saturday afternoons was about £9,000. Chris Black asked for an earlier decision next year, which might allow an extra free afternoon, either earlier in December or just after Xmas.

    UKIP leader John Hayter had a go at the adoption of the “Development Management Plan”: This is basically a new version of the council’s “Bible” of planning policies. Not the zoning of land for development, but all the other policies. Things like the design of new developments, housing density, infilling of gardens, phone masts, what is allowed in the Green Belt, green tourism, playing pitches and other leisure and recreational uses…. John criticised the document because of all the new development proposed in the district, but John Mason, Chris Black, and Michael Hoy pointed out that he was criticising the wrong document for that.

    The Tories best part of the night was a report showing that the council’s financial situation was improving.

    Ron Oatham made it clear his opinion of central government when John Mason asked whether a certain financial amount “was being lost back to central government, or worse?” Ron immediately called out “Could anything BE worse?”

    Chris Black asked how many planning enforcement cases were currently ongoing – the answer was 362, just four less than last year. He asked what could be done to reduce this figure quicker, and was told they would soon have three members of staff again, instead of the current two.

    County Council Rejects Lib Dem Proposal To Roll Out LED Lighting


    Essex County Council today rejected a bid to allocate funding for low-energy streetlights. At a meeting of the full council, the Liberal Democrat Group moved a motion calling on the council to allocate funds for LED roll-out in next year’s budget.

    Moving the motion, Cllr Stephen Robinson (Chelmsford North) pointed out that the Liberal Democrats in the coalition Government have created the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to help the UK economy become greener and stronger.

    Cllr Robinson said, “The GIB has £3.8 billion to support the roll-out of projects like low-energy LED streetlights. I am disappointed that the Conservative majority on the council would not agree to a plan for a roll-out of LED lights.

    “Moving to LED lights would save Essex taxpayers MORE money than switching off most streetlights during the night.

    “I am especially puzzled that they are willing to spend £1 million on a pilot of LED lights but will not set aside any money to take the pilot forwards if it is successful.”

    Seconding the motion, Cllr David Kendall (Brentwood South) pointed to figures from the Police in Brentwood, showing that crime has risen during the “lights off” period. Cllr Kendall also pointed out that the AA are now saying that lights should be left on in roads where the speed limit is 40mph or higher, because of the dangers to pedestrians.

    Councillors were also concerned that the £1 million for the pilot is being taken away from the budgets of the Local Highways Panel.

    The Coalition’s Planned Road Improvements


    The has an interactive map of the coalition’s proposed road improvements – you can find it here.

    The two projects closest to us are:




    The M25 is scheduled to be 4 lanes throughout by the end of this year….

    Be Warned – Dartford Crossing Closed Overnight This Weekend, One Direction At A Time

    From the Echo today:

    THE DARTFORD Crossing will be closed overnight this weekend.

    On Saturday night the northbound tunnels will be closed and on Sunday night the QEII bridge will be fully closed, with signed diversions in place via the Blackwall Tunnel.

    Dart Charge project director Nigel Gray said: “This weekend will see the start of massive changes at the Dartford Crossing and by Monday morning we will have southbound traffic able to use the Crossing barrier-free.

    “We will be closing the Crossing overnight, in one direction at a time, to minimise the disruption while we change the road layout. I advise drivers to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys.”

    Erwan Huerre of Connect Plus which is carrying out the work, said: “Road users will see the benefit on southbound journeys early on, however work on the northbound carriageway, approaching the Dartford Tunnels, will take longer to complete.

    “In the short term, road users will still need to drive through the old payment plaza, which will remain temporarily to manage traffic flows and maintain safety in the tunnels.

    “The main works are due to be completed by spring 2015, which is when the full benefits of Dart Charge will be felt.”

    The Crossing will be closed, between junction 2 (for the A2) and junction 31 (for the A1306), to northbound traffic between 11.30pm on Saturday 29 and 6am in the morning of Sunday 30 November.

    It will then be closed to southbound traffic between 11.30pm on Sunday 30 November and 5.30am in the morning of Monday 1 December.

    A diversion route will be in place via the A2, A102 Blackwall Tunnel and A13.

    The Blackwall tunnel has a height restriction of 4m northbound, 4.7m southbound and is classed as ‘ADR Category E’ for hazardous goods.

    Any vehicles above these height restrictions or carrying dangerous goods will be diverted via the western section of the M25

    Free Parking For Three Saturdays

    Market Car Park 2 78009. crop

    As usual, the District Council is offering free parking in its car parks on December 6, 13 and 20.
    Let’s hope people make use of it, and that our town centre traders do well…

    Rawreth Parish Council’s Response In Full


    “RE: Planning Application 14/00627/OUT
    Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd
    Land North of London Road, and South of Rawreth Lane and West of Rawreth Industrial
    Estate, Rawreth Lane, Rawreth Essex

    Further to your letter, enclosing a copy of the submitted plans and applications in respect
    of the proposals detailed above, Council have the following comments and observations to make.
    The Council still have very grave concerns about the effect that developing the land will
    have on an area that already suffers from flooding. Whilst Council note that balancing
    ponds, basins and swails have been accounted for, the Parish of Rawreth is very unique
    in that it suffers from fluvial, tidal and surface water flooding and the Council does not
    feel that adequate notice has been taken of these factors and the correct information
    gathered and analysed. The Parish has suffered from the “one in a hundred years”
    event three times within eighteen months, however the advice given to the Developer
    from the Environment Agency asks them to work on the one in a hundred years scenario
    only, this is proven to be ineffective, vast areas of the Parish are cut off for days when
    these events happen, properties flood, roads are impassable and lives are devastated
    through loss and fear of it happening again.

    The Council would like to re-emphasise that the Rawreth Brook is influenced by tidal flow
    and this is a major contributory factor to flooding in the Parish.

    The Council would also like to re-emphasise that in addition to water from the immediate
    area draining into Rawreth Brook, water from Bowers Gifford also drains into it via the
    Benfleet Brook, a very significant factor that has been overlooked.

    The Council are concerned that all the technical work is being done upstream of the site,
    but none is planned for downstream, Council believe this is because it is assumed there
    is no adverse effect downstream which is totally unacceptable and incorrect

    The Council also considers that the roads and infrastructure in the Rawreth area are
    completely inadequate to accommodate this proposed development as they are already full to capacity .

    The A127, A1245, A129 London Road, Rawreth Lane and Watery Lane
    just cannot take any more traffic and the proposed development will increase traffic to a
    completely unsustainable level. On numerous occasions this year and last year incidents
    within and on the outskirts of the Parish have brought traffic to a standstill for hours along
    London Road, Rawreth Lane, Watery Lane/Beeches Road and the Hullbridge Road. It
    took some residents 1 1⁄4 hours to proceed along Rawreth Lane and into Hullbridge –
    a distance of 1 1⁄2 miles. We strongly recommend that an independent Traffic Survey
    and assessment should be done before any approval of this scheme. Without a long
    term solution to existing transport needs then this and any new developments are

    Council considers access to the site to be inadequate too, the access point is to and
    from Rawreth Lane, a road already over congested. Failure to improve the infrastructure
    at the access point and on surrounding roads will only add to the problems already
    experienced, the overall traffic flow to and from the development means congested
    roads will not improve and existing residents will only be inconvenienced more which
    Council doesn’t consider acceptable. It is assumed by Countryside that most traffic will
    exit via London Road and that is where they will spend money to “improve” traffic flow
    there will be very little improvement to Rawreth Lane, or the Rawreth Lane Hullbridge
    Road junction. There appears to be too much reliance on the Hullbridge Development
    financing any improvement on Rawreth Lane.

    Below is a copy of a traffic survey undertaken by Rawreth Parish Council in 2010, this
    survey is woefully out of date as traffic has increased since it was taken, but it still gives
    an idea of the traffic volumes that use Rawreth Lane and Beeches Road on a daily basis.

    Rawreth Parish Council – Traffic Survey 25th March 2010.
    Location Beeches Road, held between the hours of 7am and 7pm.

    7-9 AM 732 333
    9-11 AM 250 322
    11-12 PM 130 147
    12- 1 PM 131 140
    1-2 PM 128 150
    2-3 PM 118 195
    3-4 PM 120 247
    4-5 PM 131 384
    5-6 PM 171 595
    6-7 PM 111 335
    2022 2848

    The odd statistic from the figures show eastbound traffic is running at about 220 vehicles
    per hour whilst westbound is averaging at only about 170 vehicles per hour . This may
    be because of the congestion on Rawreth lane encourages more cars going east .
    There were considerable numbers of overweight vehicles mainly large transit type with
    double wheels or long wheelbase.

    Rawreth Parish Council – Traffic Survey 25th March 2010.
    Location Rawreth Lane, Recreation car park, held between the hours of 7am and

    Easterly Westerly
    7 – 8am – 460 7 – 8 am – 800
    8 – 9 – 565 8 – 9 – 910
    9 – 10 – 515 9 – 10 – 605
    10 – 11 – 457 10 – 11 – 496
    11 – 12 – 518 11 – 12 – 520
    12 – 1 – 460 12 – 1 – 515
    1 – 2 – 550 1 – 2 – 495
    2 – 3 – 607 2 – 3 – 526
    3-4 740 3 – 4 – 555
    4 – 5 – 821 4 – 5 – 594
    5 – 6 – 801 5 – 6 – 665
    6 – 7pm – 685 6 – 7pm – 536
    Total 7179 7217

    Council also considers the provision for a primary school to be unnecessary given that
    the Parish School of St Nicholas could easily be extended to accommodate any future
    need. Council feel that the space allocated for a school would be better utilised as a
    Doctors surgery as the existing surgeries in the area will not cope with a development of
    this size.

    The Council are extremely concerned that inadequate risk assessments and calculations
    have been undertaken with regards to flooding, and the effect of flooding on the Parish
    and surrounding area that together with the lack of assessment with regards to increased
    traffic movement and flow leaves the Council in no doubt that there will be extreme lack
    of infrastructure to support this development.
    Yours sincerely
    Hayley Bloomfield
    Clerk to Rawreth Parish Council ”

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    March 2015
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    There's lots of information on the District Council website about the planning application "North of London Road ". To see it , just click here.

    The Core Strategy

    This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here click here. (2.5mb)

    Planning Applications…

    If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.

    If you want to know what new planning applications have been submitted this week, click here.

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    If you want to report a problem, you can email Lib Dems councillors by clicking here.
    There's also an independent website called FixMyStreet. It's very good for reporting minor street problems like holes in the road, grafitti or failed streetlights. You can find FixMyStreet here.

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    To find the food hygiene rating for eating places and other businesses in our district , click here.

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