West Essex villages fear becoming 'trapped' by road closures

A Google Earth screenshot of a junction, and slightly beyond, a level crossing in Elsenham, Essex

Roads to nowhere: Elsenham residents fear they will be 'trapped' with a fortnight of road closures - Credit: Google Earth

West Essex villagers fear they will become "trapped" for two weeks due to road closures.

Three sets of roadworks north of Elsenham have been scheduled at the same time between September 27 and October 8.

North Hall Road between Elsenham and Newport has been closed since July 2020.

There are short-term closures on Chickney Road between September 6 and October 8, and on Ugley Road from September 27 until October 18.

An Essex Highways spokesperson has admitted that the timing is "unfortunate".


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Residents say they feel let down.

Simon Lee, who lives in Henham, described the road closures programme as "absolute madness".

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Simon said: "This shows incompetence from Essex Highways and contempt for residents' mobility and their ability to enjoy expedient access to school and work."

He added: "Get this for joined-up thinking!

"Henham and Elsenham are cut off with three simultaneous road closures rendering any route north impossible.

"We are effectively cut off."

Uttlesford district councillor for Elsenham and Henham, Councillor Garry LeCount, believes the overlap could have been avoided.

Cllr LeCount said: "There seems to be no conversation with one another at Essex Highways.

"There's no continuity between departments to ensure we have the right through-route of traffic out of the villages."

A spokesperson for Essex Highways said the works are essential.

They said: "There is an unfortunate incidence of two or three road closures in a rural area with limited through routes.

"However, each area remains accessible from one direction, albeit with diversions involved from other directions.

"The bridge closure is unfortunately a longer term issue, with perhaps major works to be carried out.

"By carefully following diversion route maps and signs on site and with local knowledge, residents will be able to access the area."

A concrete wall along the side of the River Cam near Elsenham

Essex Highways closed North Hall Road in 2020 after a wall near the River Cam was found to have collapsed - Credit: Essex Highways

North Hall Road closed in the summer of last year after damage to a retaining wall next to the River Cam.

A diversion is in place via Quendon.

The roadworks on Chickney Road will be closed for sewage works, with a diversion via Thaxted.

Ugley Road will be closed for gas works, with a diversion via Stansted.

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