colchester

Colchester 13 Rochford 0

The  Echo has an article on its website about improvements coming on the A127:

DRIVERS have been warned to expect delays, as work will start tomorrow to improve a busy A127 junction.

Contractors will be getting to work at the road’s Nevendon junction, near Wickford.

Improvements to its roundabout will include increasing the number of lanes from two to three, upgrading traffic signals and adding a new left turn lane for vehicles travelling east from the A127 onto the A132 Nevendon Road towards Wickford.

Work is expected to be completed by winter this year…

Essex County Council, who are behind the project, is encouraging commuters to allow extra time to complete their journeys.

Now, there are more details on the County Council website here and very interestingly they list all the ‘major schemes’ in Essex:

13 in Colchester
5 in Basildon
3 in Chelmsford
3 in Harlow
1 each in Braintree, Castle Point, Maldon, and Uttlesford
None in Brentwood, Rochford and Tendring

Congrats to the Leader of Colchester Borough Council – Lib Dem Paul Smith. Clearly Paul and his Lib Dem colleagues know how to lobby for improvements!

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Lollipop Patrol Needed!

James Newport is campaigning hard with residents to get a crossing in Little Wheatleys Chase, just outside Our Lady of Ransom School, as reported in the Echo:

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A Few More Thoughts About That Roundabout….

1. According to the document from the applicant’s traffic consultant, the 500 houses in Hullbridge would cause a big increase in congestion if no improvements are carried out. They predict that by 2019, without the 500 houses , there would be queues in Rawreth Lane in the evening rush hour of 45 cars, with delays of 210 seconds. (some people might argue  the queues  are that bad already)  With the extra 500 homes, the queues would be more than twice as bad – 107 vehicles long and 475 seconds.

roundabout12. Their consultants reckon the bigger roundabout would solve the problem, even with “a  proposed development on the adjacent land of up to 100 dwellings”. Who is proposing 100 houses on the adjacent land?!

roundabout23.  Just to make it clear , the plan that was passed does NOT cut off Mortimer Road from Hullbridge Road.

44. The chair  of the  meeting,  Cllr Seagers, cut off Chris Black from speaking after 5 minutes, even though he was still  talking  about  the details of the roundabout and the surrounding features .   Though council rules DO give the chair discretion to allow speakers to continue for longer:

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Hullbridge Plan Is Passed 9-2, Roundabout Passed As Well

It was an uninspiring night in the council chamber.

The Hullbridge/Rawreth application for 500 was passed by 9 votes to 2. Chris Black (Lib Dem) moved refusal and was seconded by John Hayter (UKIP) but they were outvoted by 9 Conservatives. The Hullbridge District Councillors Michael and Diane Hoy (Green) and Angela Hale (Tory), plus Hullbridge Parish Councillors Angelina Marriott (Labour) all made good speeches, as did our Tory MP Mark Francois , but none of them had a vote.

The roundabout application was also passed, despite a speech against by Rawreth Parish Councillor Chris Stanley and some concerns about the details expressed by Chris Black (Lib Dem). the only concession Chris got was that the ward councillors would be consulted on the screening and landscaping, to minimise the impact on neighbouring residents. This was supported by the Tory leader Terry Cutmore.

The Echo has a good report here.

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If You Are Interested In Council Car Park Income…

The District Council Cabinet meet on Wednesday evening this week, one of the reports they are getting is an update on the council’s financial position. You can download it here.

At the very end of the report is an analysis of the car park income – a modest increase on the previous financial year, following an increase in charges:

car park income

 

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BREAKING NEWS: New Roundabout Application

The planning application for the new roundabout at the Hullbridge Road / Rawreth Lane junction has just been submitted. It is application 16/00162/FUL and you can see it here

The first thing we’ve noticed is good news.  Unlike  a previous plan that we’ saw, Mortimer Road still has access onto Hullbridge Road.

The other news is that there is no longer a extra road access going ominously into Lubbards Farm. That’s been removed. But there’s still room to add an extra exit at a later date. Also the accompanying Transport Assessment states:

“a requirement of the landowner is to consider future development access”

That looks like a hint for a future planning application  on part of Lubbards Farm. We will say no more, to avoid ‘fettering our discretion’

This is the current plan (click to enlarge)

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This is the previous plan we saw:

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Gloom Over Streetlighting

We are well aware at onlineFOCUS of the number of faulty streetlights at the moment – Ron counted 117 out in Rawreth Lane alone, and Bruce counted over 200 on the A13.

Most streetlights on residential roads are the responsibility of County Highways, and not the District or parish councils that we represent on your behalf. However we are still very concerned and still chasing things – and you can also report faulty streetlights yourself here.

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Big Budget Meeting Next Week.

The District Council has a big budget next Tuesday 9th February, at 7:30. We received the agenda today, so there’s a lot of reading to do, and we will write in more detail later. But two things immediately stand out in the proposals from the Conservative administration:

  • District Council Tax is proposed to rise by 1.93%
  • It is proposed that some car park charges will rise. For example the 1/2 hour charge in the main shopping car parks will rise from 50p to 60p, and the 1 hour charge from £1.00 to £1.20. Saturday afternoons will stay free. However charges will continue in weekday evenings until 9 pm (instead of 7 pm at present). This could have an impact on restaurants and take-aways…
  • As we said above, we will write more late. George Osbourne is giving councils a very hard time at the moment…

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    A Thought-Provoking Point Of View On Pedestrian Crossings

    The video below explains why pedestrian crossings may not always make you safer. The question is, though, is US data valid for our country? And how would you help blind or partially sighted people without crossings?

     

    Hat-tip: Mark Pack

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    The Salting Routes

    For those interested, here are some maps showing the salting routes that the County Council vehicles work on….

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    gritting2

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    Watch The Gritters Online

    Look at this interactive County Council map here.

    Salting routes

    The salting routes are shown as a red line on the map and you can see our fleet of vehicles in their current location, as they travel around the county. We have a total of 59 routes this year. 62 machines with ploughs plus two mini gritters service these routes. All routes on the salting network are treatable in a maximum of 3 hours.

    The salting routes consists of:

    ’A’ roads that Essex Highways are responsible for. This excludes the A12, the A120 and the A130 which are administered by other organisations
    ‘B’ roads
    The access route to the main settlement of a Parish of 50 or more households not already on the precautionary salting route
    Roads served by at least 4 public bus services per day for 5 days per week or more
    Roads that link sites of national importance (e.g. airports, ports, fuel refineries etc.) to the main salting network
    We also include roads which allow ambulance and fire stations access to the main salting network

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    Cllr Steptoe’s Decisions On Council Car Parks

    Mike Steptoe is the affable Tory councillor for Barling and Sutton, and is the cabinet member for “Enterprise”. Which means he’s the person who makes decisions about whether to have free car parking in council car parks at Xmas, and whether to charge the NHS for using car parking spaces for breast screening or other health checks.

    He’s just made the following decisions – you can download the document here.

    First of all, there’s going to be the usual free parking in council car parks on Saturdays mornings in December before Christmas – the 5th, 12th and 19th. However Cllr Steptoe turned down the idea of boosting trade for the sales period by having an extra free Saturday morning after Christmas.

    Secondly, there is the controversial question of whether to charge the NHS for having a breast cancer screening service in one of our car parks. The council currently charges the NHS at a reduced rate – £1066 for a four month period. The new policy is to give a fixed 75% reduction for any organisation serving the public. On this basis the NHS would pay £909 for four months.

    The amounts of money are not huge, and some people will say this is a reasonable compromise. Others will say that the breast screening service is coming to benefit our residents and shouldnt be charged at all. As a comparison, if you were an employer and a cancer screening service were offering to come to your premises free of charge and screen your employees, would you charge them for taking up space in your company car park?