Traffic gridlock fears revealed in new report

Residents For Uttlesford (R4U) has published a traffic map of Saffron Walden.

Residents For Uttlesford (R4U) has published a traffic map of Saffron Walden. - Credit: Archant

Motorists face the prospect of having to endure more than THREE MILES of gridlocked traffic in Saffron Walden within five years, according to an analysis of data from a newly-published report.

The impact of planned new housing has been illustrated by political party Residents 4 Uttlesford (R4U), which has published a 2020 traffic map of Saffron Walden based on the new traffic report produced for Kier Homes. The developer’s appeal to build 300 homes off Thaxted Road, a portion of what is factored into the traffic report, is currently being heard at Uttlesford District Council offices.

R4U candidate Richard Freeman said: “The new traffic report considers the aggregate impact of all of UDC’s developments in Saffron Walden.

“It shows that at peak times the town will have more than three miles of gridlocked traffic. It exposes the effect of the poor planning decisions taken by the current district council administration in approving vast new housing estates without the proper infrastructure.”

The traffic map, produced by Transport Planning Associates, suggests there could be rush hour queues of three quarters of a mile on Ashdon Road, and half a mile on Radwinter Road, with comparable gridlocks on Thaxted Road and Debden Road.

“This gridlock will lead to delays and frustration for all, and will increase pollution at junctions which are already at illegal levels,” said fellow R4U candidate Dan Starr.

Leader of Uttlesford District Council, Cllr Howard Rolfe, responded: “The report is part of a submission to the Kier appeal and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment on a live hearing.

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“However I can say more generally that I totally agree with R4U that infrastructure and traffic movement is fundamental to development in Saffron Walden.

“As readers will be aware a comprehensive plan has been developed by Essex County Council (ECC) and it would not appear that this been factored into these findings nor has the new link road between Radwinter and Thaxted Roads which will be a significant mitigation.”

He added: “The ECC plan removes traffic lights and provides for freer movement from east to west.

“In addition a scheme is being developed to consider making Ashdon Road one way, this would be subject to extensive consultation.

“It is important to note that the Local Plan does not envisage any further development in Saffron Walden, as commented upon by the previous inspector.

“Whilst I applaud the aspiration to be infrastructure driven, R4U are quite aware that infrastructure paid for by development will only ever happen after planning permission has been granted.”

The Reporter approached Kier Homes but the company was unable to comment before we went to press.