ESSEX: Residents in crossing plea

PUBLISHED: 09:35 13 May 2010 | UPDATED: 07:37 30 May 2010

PLANS for speed limit signs and a pedestrian crossing have reached a critical crossroads after a lobbying group demanded prompt action, despite a lack of funding.

PLANS for speed limit signs and a pedestrian crossing have reached a critical crossroads after a lobbying group demanded prompt action, despite a lack of funding.

Residents from around Rosemary Lane, Great Dunmow, have vowed to "bombard" Essex County Council until safety measures are put in place on a busy stretch of road described as "frightening".

Speeding has been highlighted as a major issue, so much so that residents confronted council officers at a traffic management meeting on Tuesday morning (May 11).

Wendy Morrone, who has lived on The Downs since August 2009, yards away from a site identified for a pelican crossing, said: "I nearly got hit by a speeding van just the other day. It [getting speed signs] is a priority because it has become really frightening around there."

A temporary vehicle activated sign has been ordered in and should be appearing next to the road in the coming weeks. It will not be a permanent solution.

Dunmow Town Council trying to introduce a style of pelican crossing at the top of the lane's hill. Councillors hope it will provide a safe crossing for shoppers getting to and from the town centre and also help to reduce the onset of speeding.

However, getting an approved scheme funded is proving to be a major stumbling block as budget constraints for crossing projects are tight in the Uttlesford area.

According to Essex council highways officer Chris Stoneham only £100,000 is available and currently nine projects are bidding against each other for a share. If all were approved it would cost nearly three times that amount.

"A pelican crossing scheme in this case would cost between £15,000 and £20,000 and if the council seeks money from the designated localism fund it could take as long as five years to put in place," he said. "Currently we are only managing around one per year."

Both councils have agreed that the best solution would be to try and try and stitch in an agreement with housing developers who hope to build on land nearby.

Mr Stoneham indicated that a clause could be added to a planning agreement, forcing the developers of the old disused Rosemary Lane school to provide the cash up front.

But the slow action being taken is unlikely to please residents. Mai Barrett, from Pondfields, said they were unhappy with the progress made because a crossing has was agreed three years ago in the same location but funding was pulled at the last minute.

"A temporary light is not the answer," she said. "One would not be effective in slowing traffic down. I see elderly people crossing nearby and nearly getting hit. Something has to be done."

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