Frustrated Ford End villagers told flowers might stop speeding

The Fox family trying to cross the road (left to right) Liam, mum Lisbeth, dog Benji and Daniel.

The Fox family trying to cross the road (left to right) Liam, mum Lisbeth, dog Benji and Daniel. - Credit: Archant

Planting flowerpots has been suggested as a way to solve chronic speeding through a village near Dunmow.

Other suggestions included moving the village gates and heightening the curb, rather than installing a speed camera.

Although Essex County Council had originally discussed installing a crossing or a roundabout on the B1008 in Ford End, this was cancelled because more than 80 yards of clear sight on either side is needed and the road in question is too windy and narrow, a meeting heard on August 21.

The highways department attended the meeting to discuss what could be done instead, and suggested planting the flowers so that Ford End feels more like a village, and motorists are encouraged to slow down.

In theory, making the curbs bigger would narrow the appearance of the road, also slowing cars down.

A 30mph limit is in place, but more than half the cars travel down it at more than 34mph and nine per cent are going at more than 47mph, according to a week-long survey conducted by the parish council over a week in November 2015.

This adds up to 1,158 cars speeding at almost 20mph over the speed limit every week – 60,216 cars every year.

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Despite this, and the fact there are schools and a church in the village, there is no crossing for people to get across the busy road.

School children, who also attended the meeting made their case to the council officers. One had to ask a parent to park across both sides of the road and block traffic so they could safely cross.

People travel so quickly because it used to be the A130 and is a primary road.

Alan Martin, resident and part of the Village Design Committee, said villagers have been campaigning for measures to combat speeding for more than four years.

He said their presentation raised “lots of passionate voices” at the meeting. Mr Martin said: “Everyone is suspicious of their (council officers’) motives, people think they’re just buying time and using stalling tactics.

“There’s no natural solution (to the problem), there are no shops or places to pull over.

“There are times when there are people who are doing the speed limit, but quite often you have one person who is doing the speed limit in front of a long queue of cars who wouldn’t be.”

“Eighty frustrated residents came to the meeting and 80 frustrated residents left the meeting,” he said.

“We need solutions”.

Essex County Council, who found lower figures on the speed of cars travelling along the road in its own survey, said: “We have had discussions with the residents of Ford End regarding possible measures which could be taken to reduce speeding through the village.

“As a result, we are reviewing a number of options and will report back to parish councillors in due course.”

The council says it is restricted in what it can do because the road is a primary route, and speed cameras are unusual.