Updated July 2022
Here we are in July and The Crossroads has still not been fixed.
Yet again I am having to report a lack of real progress. It appears that having not pre-planned as well as they might have done for the resurfacing of the crossroads, Essex Highways were prepared to put speed cushions down and do the resurfacing in November!
However, as part of the design for the installation of the speed cushions’ there has to be increased signage. It is this that is causing the delay. Essex Highways cannot locate the brackets that are needed for the signposts. They are of course a legal requirement and are clearly mentioned on the plans and drawings.
I understand there are a number of people trying to locate alternatives at Essex Highways including our Essex County Council member Alan Goggin. He informs me that there are people at the highest level, including the Cabinet Member for Highways, working on behalf of the Parish and its residents to try to overcome the difficulty. They are understanding of our upset and disappointment; I am informed! We have suggested Tiny our local blacksmith might make them! However, we will wait and see. To have them installed for July and August would be a tremendous help in keeping the speeding down during this busy period.
Update March 2022
The formal consultation of the proposed redesigning of the crossroads has passed without comments, which is another two steps nearer the delivering of the speed cushions.
However, in the intervening time, the four roads approaching the crossroads have been inspected and it was decided that the speed cushions could not be installed on the current road surface as it is deteriorating and needs resurfacing before the installation.
We have now been advised by Highways (albeit on an informal basis) that they will try to carry out the resurfacing of all four approaches to the junction before the end of April. so that the speed cushions can be installed by the middle of May.
Please click on this link to see the plan of where the speed cushions will be positioned.
Update for February 2022
ALL CLEAR FOR THE CROSSROADS!
Highways have given the go-ahead for the speed cushions to be installed, but have decided it would make more sense to fit them after resurfacing, which was planned for spring. This will ensure that the cushions are laid on a clean, flat surface.
Update January 2022
I am sure there will come a time when it doesn’t feature in this Report, but we suspect that is still a way off!
The letter from Essex Highways informing businesses and residents living in the centre of the village of the proposed design and inviting comments has passed without any adverse comments. We now have the formal consultation which goes out to bus companies, the Fire Brigade, Ambulance Service etc. and they have to make any comments within 21 calendar days. Hopefully there will be no adverse comments and the planning can be put into place for actually delivering the design. Why both consultations couldn’t have been run parallel is beyond us– if they had, we would then have reached the delivery point of the speed cushions being put in place so much more quickly?
Update December 2021
It would appear that finally the proposed design and letter from Essex Highways is to go out to businesses and residents in the centre of the village. The Road Safety Audit Team have made some alterations to the design. One in particular which concerned us was that the cushions in Spring Road had been moved back to opposite Chandlers, next to Stone Alley, some 31 metres from the crossroads. Highways had concerns about the safety of motor cyclists turning the corners at both Colchester Road and Clacton Road into Spring Road with the cushions placed as close as they were to the crossroads.
We did request that the Safety Team should look again at the positioning of the cushions. This they have done and they are now to be placed just down from Jerry the Butchers. The main purpose of the cushions is to slow drivers down as they approach the crossroads – hopefully now with the revised layout it will be achieved.
Update 11 November 2021
At long last, the wording of the initial consultation letter has been agreed and it should be sent out to directly affected parties this week. Once replies have been received (within 21 days) and reviewed, the proposals will be made available to residents.
Consultation with the Highways Safety Officer led to some simplifications in the layout design. The number of speed cushions will be reduced to 8 in total and the existing surface markings will not change. in the revision, the double yellow lines in front of the Ellacott Morris office will be extended, with a reduction of one space in the parking bay.
Hopefully work will start before the end of the year.
Update 14 September 2021
Following various meeting with ECC Highways, proposals have now been agreed to make changes at the Crossroads.
As previously discussed, these will be in the form of traffic calming cushions and changes to white lining and signs. As shown from CCTV footage, the major issue is that many motorists do not even recognise the presence of the crossroads, or even the stop signs. The physical presence of a total of ten cushions and road markings is expected to make drivers slow down.
The consultation letters detailing the proposals have gone out to directly affected parties. Responses are expected by the end of the month. When all responses have been assessed, the proposals will be advertised to a wider audience and drawings will be will published on this web website.
Subject to no hold ups in the process, It is hoped that construction will start in November.
Update August 2021
Under the new Highway Code rules, motorists must give way to pedestrians crossing the road at junctions. It states:
- watch out for pedestrians crossing a road into which you are turning. If they have started to cross they have priority, so give way
These new rules will have a bearing on the Crossroads. These will be discussed at Parish Council meeting with ECC Highways meeting in August.
Site Meeting 18th June
A site meeting was held on 18th June with: David Gollop and Tom Eng – Essex Highways; Ben Cook – Independent Highways Consultant who carried out the Crossroads Feasibility Study for the Parish Council; Adrian Carden – Essex Highways Safety Officer; Cllr. Alan Goggin – ECC
Speed cushions had already been suggested and accepted for all four roads leading to the crossroads. Our meeting that morning was to discuss a possible improvement to pedestrian safety particularly around the Hoy. It had been suggested that there could be an increase of 90 cm to that footway.
However, it was made very clear at the meeting by Essex Highways, that it was accepted that the crossroads were non-compliant in current highway regulations due to historical factors. But that any alterations in terms of carriageway or footway at the crossroads, even on the grounds of what could be considered safety improvements, would result in the crossroads being ruled as non-compliant. Therefore, it would lay Essex Highways open to being sued should there be an accident as a result of an improvement.
For instance, it had been established that the maximum possible width we could extend The Hoy corner to was 90 cm. To be compliant it has to be 1.2m and even at 90 cm, wider buggies and mobility scooters could not use it safely and it would be ruled as non-compliant.
Currently the design and this is what will go out to Consultation to businesses and those residents who live near the Crossroads will be:
- Four cushions at the approach to the crossroads from both The Bury and Colchester Road.
- Two cushions at the approach to crossroads in Spring Road and Clacton Road.
- Improved road markings using a specialist paint which can last up to 5 years.
- Six-inch-high kerb stones outside the butchers and down to Stone Alley to deter parking.
- There is to be signage warning motorists that there may be pedestrians in the road.
As a Parish Council it is not all that we had hoped for when the Feasibility Study was commissioned. We do however understand and realise that the options for our crossroads because of the necessity for Highway compliance are massively limited. The planned improvement and alterations are certainly a positive way forward. We should remind ourselves that they are the first major safety improvements to our crossroads after nearly sixty years of discussion!
The Parish Council with Essex Highways will be revisiting and evaluating the alterations in 2022. Meanwhile it is to be hoped that after the Consultation, the speed cushions, which are moveable so positioning can be altered, can be placed as soon as possible at the crossroads.
Update June 2021
A further meeting was held on 25th May with members of Essex Highways, Alan Goggin for Essex CC, and Ben Cook from BMSL Consulting Ltd, to discuss designs to enable pedestrians and those pushing buggies and using mobility scooters to walk around The Hoy corner in comparative safety. We think there is a possibility of a resolution but as was pointed out by Ben Cook, improvements to one area of the crossroads would possibly be at the detriment of another. It is now recognised that the crossroads which is described as a staggered junction with a bend is never going to be compliant with Highway Regulations, but there may need to be a trade-off in order to ensure pedestrian safety.
Another meeting is to be held shortly but this time with the Head of the Safety Team for ECC. It will be an on site meeting. It was pointed out to all those who attended the meeting on the 25th May, hat any design put forward by the engineering team for the crossroads has to go before the Essex Safety Team and they could on safety grounds refuse to let it go forward. Hence the Head of the Essex Safety Team will be attending the meeting in June, as whatever design is put forward for consideration we want to ensure that it will have the agreement of the Essex Safety Team.
Updated May 2021
Although the PC remain delighted that we have £30,000 of funding now allocated for improvements to the crossroads, the design shown to Councillors did unfortunately fall short of our requirement that there should be safety improvements for both drivers and pedestrians.
The Engineering team had focused only on driver safety. We therefore requested that they revisited the scheme again. This they have done, but have told us that it is not possible to widen the footway around The Hoy because of the layout of the junction. This as you may imagine, was not what the PC wanted to hear and although it was explained at length why it could not be done, we requested a meeting with EH’s Design Manager, their Highway Liaison Officer and Ben Cook who carried out the Feasibility Study for the PC in 2019.
The meeting was held on 5th May, it was constructive with several avenues additionally explored. More work is to be done by the Engineering Team and we meet again at the end of May. It may be that we put the speed cushions down for this summer which would at least would be a plus in moving forward with the some of the safety aspects of the crossroads, but we want it to be safe for pedestrians too.
Updated 16 April 2021.
Proposed ECC Scheme for the Crossroads
In the March Parish Council Meeting (via Zoom), the ECC Highways design (that the PC is paying for!) for the crossroads was shown via a shared screen – the wonders of technology!!
Key elements of the proposed scheme:
- Speed cushions on all four approaches to the crossroads.
- Repositioning of some of the existing road markings.
- Additional lighting on the Bury (opposite St Osyth Butchers).
- The installation of 6” kerb stones outside and down from St Osyth Butchers.
- The removal of an existing parking space in Clacton Road (to accommodate one of the cushions).
- The possible installation of bollards in Spring Road opposite the Premier Store.
ECC have ruled ruled out many other suggestions such as traffic lights, raised platforms, priority changes, etc. for practicality, legal and technical reasons.
While the councillors saw much to commend in the scheme, concern was expressed though at the omission of any form of pedestrian safety in the vicinity of The Hoy. The Feasibility Study had carefully considered how this might be achieved and the PC have requested that it is revisited with some urgency. The PC made it clear in 2019 that pedestrian safety was also a key issue.
The final design and scheme will go to Public Consultation, so residents will be able to see what is proposed and make comments.
There is a lot happening with the Crossroads and we have created this item to keep Residents informed of developments.
Most of this information is from the Chairman’s Report, but we will add extra items as they come in. This will include accident reports.
Firstly, some clarifications about who is responsible to avoid any confusion. Primary responsibility for public roads lies with Essex County Council Highways. The Parish Council, however, provides input to ECC about the requirements of residents. Tendring District Council is not involved with the Crossroads directly.
The local Highways panel for the Tendring District met on 18th March. It is this body of ECC Councillors and Essex Highways staff who meet and decide the funding for future highway projects for 2021/22 and our crossroads scheme is on the agenda. If you remember, the Parish Council paid for a Feasibility Study to be carried out a year ago looking for solutions to support both pedestrian and driver safety at the Crossroads. Several possibilities came from this. The Parish Council then worked with Essex Highways to consider a design integrating them . To ensure the design was progressed, the Parish Council contributed £10,000 to ensure that the design phase of the crossroads was completed in preparation for the March 2021 meeting. Hopefully it will meet with a very favourable response and we know it will be fully supported by our County Councillor Alan Goggin who has worked with the Parish Council throughout.
22nd March 2021: Success. There is now funding for the Crossroads! Wonderful!