Parking spaces to go if scheme comes in to improve Saffron Walden High Street traffic flow

AN attempt will be made to improve traffic flow in Saffron Walden – but it will come at the expense of parking spaces.

Schemes on the High Street, Peaslands Road and Ashdon Road were approved at a meeting of the North Essex Parking Partnership earlier this month.

The first scheme would see four parking bays removed between the bus stop on the High Street, outside Saffron Sports, and the traffic lights to “enable better two-lane traffic stacking”.

There is also a Clearway order planned for Peaslands Road from 8am-6pm from the Lord Butler Leisure Centre to Friends School.

“This would improve day time traffic flow whilst still enabling residents to park on-street overnight and at weekends,” an Uttlesford District Council spokesman said.

Some on-street parking provision on the eastbound side of Ashdon Road will also be removed under the third scheme, which UDC said would “allow for a few more passing places”.

Detailed schemes are being drawn up for all three locations before being put out for public consultation. It would likely take about 18 months for them to be introduced.

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Saffron Walden town councillor Mike Hibbs did not like the idea of removing parking bays on the High Street and had a different take on the issue of improving traffic flow.

He said: “It’s quite telling how little traffic there is and how much easier it is to get around town at the moment. That will change when the schools go back.

“Very little has actually been done to encourage children to walk or cycle to school – despite it being good for their health and it taking traffic off the road.

“Safer cycle routes are needed and children should be encouarged to use the bus. It needs intervention by the county council.”

Cllr Susan Barker, a UDC cabinet member who sits on the NEPP, said: “Essex County Council does have officers who work with schools on school travel plans. But it’s the same everywhere – some parents are lazy. Some aren’t, some parents are very good but it also depends on the school and its location.

“We have looked at roads and pavement policies outside RA Butler Academy School but there is not enough space to retract pavements to the width needed to introduce cycle routes.”

Asked whether there was a concern people would object to the loss of parking spaces on the High Street, Cllr Barker replied: “I think anything we can do to improve traffic flow at that junction is sensible. You don’t normally have parking spaces that close to traffic lights – it’s a bit of an anomaly.”