Traffic lights “not the solution” say disgruntled residents

RESIDENTS and councillors have questioned the need for a road traffic scheme designed to improve student safety outside a Saffron Walden school.

Parents had been promised traffic lights on the junction at Debden Road with Mount Pleasant Road and Borough Lane, outside Friends’ School, last year. The �250,000 scheme is part of the approved housing development of the school, which includes the building of a new junior school alongside 76 homes.

However, around residents took the opportunity to question the scheme at a Uttlesford District Council planning meeting yesterday (Wednesday). Many believe they have been overlooked and say the lights are not necessary. Instead, they want Essex Highways to re-look at the scheme.

Dan Starr, speaking on behalf of 140 residents, said: “We have produced a 60-page document which councillors have received – this is effectively the consultation that never happened.

“We have polled over 300 residents who live near the proposed location and 93 per cent are against it.”

Saffron Walden’s Uttlesford district councillors were in agreement, saying there was a distinct lack of evidence to show traffic lights are the best solution.

Cllr Keith Eden said: “Seven councillors - district and county - visited the site with Essex Highways recently and found no evidence as to why traffic lights were the right solution, which is a little disturbing.

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“It is not a dangerous junction and there is no data to prove otherwise. If lights are so badly needed then why were they not proposed last time?”

Cllr David Watson said: “Neither residents or elected officials had any idea there was an application for four traffic lights and 50 metres of double yellow lines. The consultation has been inadequate.

“If we examine this issue rationally and listen to the evidence in front of us, we would come to the conclusion that the lights should not be included in the application.”

Yet residents’ wishes may be ignored as, legally, Uttlesford can not strike the traffic lights scheme from the agreement because it was a major part of the original application – which was approved. Essex Highways stated traffic lights were imperative for the development to go ahead.

The committee decided to delay any further debate until its officers had discussed road safety measures with Highways officials.