Safety fears over traffic by school

PUBLISHED: 08:19 08 February 2007 | UPDATED: 21:32 29 May 2010

Warren Brown with his children Max and Ella try to cross the road in rush hour traffic - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Warren Brown with his children Max and Ella try to cross the road in rush hour traffic - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

PARENTS in Felsted are angry at the way school-hour traffic problems in the village were dismissed by developers at a recent planning inquiry in Dunmow. Residents listened in disbelief as representatives for developers Enodis refused to acknowledge that t

PARENTS in Felsted are angry at the way school-hour traffic problems in the village were dismissed by developers at a recent planning inquiry in Dunmow.

Residents listened in disbelief as representatives for developers Enodis refused to acknowledge that there was a risk of increased danger to parents taking their children to the village school from higher levels of traffic congestion.

Felsted mother-of-two, Nicola Douglas, takes her children to school in the village each day. She said: "The way Enodis treated our concerns about the problems of traffic passing through the village centre was outrageous. Five years ago the traffic was nowhere near as heavy as it is now, especially up Station Road.

"Things have definitely got a lot worse since Oakwood Park was built. Building another 162 houses as Enodis is trying to do certainly will not improve the situation."

A traffic count carried out by Felsted residents showed there was an increase of approximately 200 cars travelling through the village centre at peak periods. This was also the number of cars counted leaving Oakwood Park at the same time.

Chris Collins, a Felsted resident and chartered surveyor spoke on behalf of Felsted residents at the inquiry. He said: "The claim made by Enodis that residents leave Oakwood Park and turn left to travel to Stansted Airport and towns such as Dunmow, is clearly inaccurate.

"The main place to go is Chelmsford, and to get there, they have to travel through the centre of Felsted.

"The assumption Enodis has made about where the traffic from Oakwood Park is going is clearly wrong."

Mr Collins explained his concerns about Enodis' claim that the roads could cope with increased traffic numbers saying no one has carried out a study on the ability of roads to cope with more traffic.

"Suggestions of using crash barriers and traffic lights in the village to open up the roads would actually increase the danger from traffic to the 1200 children who go to the three schools in the village.

"As strange as it may sound, cars parked on the roadside protect people on the pavements and slow cars down. Take the cars away and clear the roads, traffic speeds increase and pedestrian safety is reduced."

Andrew Noble, Enodis group property director, said: "Both Essex County Council (ECC) and our highway consultants gave evidence on traffic matters at the inquiry.

"The county council had no objections on traffic terms and suggest the number of cars using the road is well within its capacity.

"We understand residents are concerned by the congestion in Felsted when children are dropped off and collected from school.

"However, we have provided a site for a new primary school on the Oakwood Park site, and that should open in September 2008.

"When it is opened, parents will be taking children to school on the development, so traffic in Felsted will be significantly reduced."

He also said the company had funded road improvements and that £120,000 remains unspent.

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