Chaos expected when traffic lights are axed

PUBLISHED: 10:49 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 21:40 31 May 2010

Protests against traffic flow changes proposed for Bridge Street.
Saffron Walden.
January 14, 2009.
Photograph by Michael Boyton.
Pic shows: Protesters on Bridge Street, looking down to where traffic will have to wait to let right-of-way vehicles to speed down the hill.

Protests against traffic flow changes proposed for Bridge Street. Saffron Walden. January 14, 2009. Photograph by Michael Boyton. Pic shows: Protesters on Bridge Street, looking down to where traffic will have to wait to let right-of-way vehicles to speed down the hill.

CONTROVERSIAL work to ditch the traffic lights on Saffron Walden High Street begins in a matter of weeks, despite fears it could cause absolute chaos . Essex County Councillor (ECC) Robert Chambers branded the scheme completely barmy and criticised the

CONTROVERSIAL work to ditch the traffic lights on Saffron Walden High Street begins in a matter of weeks, despite fears it could cause "absolute chaos".

Essex County Councillor (ECC) Robert Chambers branded the scheme "completely barmy" and criticised the council for failing to consult local people.

"If we do away with the lights on the corner of High Street and George Street, it will be a disaster," said Mr Chambers. "I remember when the lights were not here and it was dreadful then - the traffic is much heavier now."

The ECC's congestion-busting proposals will see the removal of the lights and priority given to traffic turning right onto George Street from the High Street.

A council spokesman said a meeting would be held with Mr Chambers to discuss his concerns, but the work would still go ahead at the end of January.

At the annual meeting of the Bridge End Residents Association on Monday, chairman John Ready said the association was strongly opposed to the scheme because it would "increase the problems of speeding and pedestrian safety on Bridge Street".

In the afternoons the traffic flow on Windmill Hill reaches up to 640 vehicles per hour.

"With priority given to north-bound traffic, jams could back-up along Bridge Street as far as the allotments, causing considerable problems for residents and businesses," warned Mr Ready.

"The build-up of waiting vehicles will obstruct access to the Eight Bells pub as well as many of the houses on Bridge Street."

Vehicles causing damage to some of the town's oldest buildings, such as the Grade I listed Youth Hostel, has long been a problem for the narrow Bridge Street. One property has been hit four times in the last 10 years and there are fears that building damage will increase if the lights are taken away.

An ECC spokesman said the scheme would also include widening of the carriageway, installation of a zebra crossing, a yellow box junction and parking restrictions to encourage the flow of traffic.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Saffron Walden Reporter