More than 600 want reopening of North Hall Road after nine months
- Credit: Greg Bird
More than 640 people have signed a petition to fix a road which has been closed for nine months.
North Hall Road, which is used by residents from Henham, Ugley and Elsenham, is a direct route which is currently closed. The petition to reopen it is supported by the parish councils of all three villages.
Nick Baker, Henham Parish Council chairman, said there has been “no clarity” on when the road will be reopened.
But Essex County Council said they are preparing to enter the tendering process for the design in the 2021-2022 financial year, which has recently started.
MP Kemi Badenoch said she spoke to Essex County Councillor Ray Gooding, and that the problem is ‘complex’.
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Drivers have been taking diversions through Patmore End.
Henham resident Hayley Attridge said: “I work in Saffron Walden, so for us it means to cut through Ugley Green or Stansted every day. It puts extra time on the journeys.
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“The potholes are horrendous at Patmore End.”
Greg Bird, who lives on Patmore End, Ugley said: “It’s only wide enough for one car in a lot of places and cars made the road wider by driving on the grass verge.
“There is a lot more traffic, noise, and pollution; extra fuel for those who have to detour; a lot of tooting on the bend which is right outside our house.”
Greg said there has been no sign of the work starting.
He attended the Ugley Parish Council meeting in January to discuss the subject.
“Ray Gooding assured me that he would take some action, but nothing has been done,” he said.
He added: “They spent nine months and they haven’t even got a tender response from contractors.
“My job is a commercial one, so I am very aware of the amount of time this process takes. With the right will, this can be done in a week.”
“We as local people pay our taxes. It affects the lives of everyone.”
Uttlesford District Councillor Neil Hargreaves said: “ECC has done nothing about it.
“The level of incompetence is eye-watering.”
Cllr Ray Gooding said: "This is an extremely complex project, and whilst I fully understand the inconvenience and dissatisfaction from people who say this has taken a long time, it's really important that we do this work properly.
"We need to get approval from the Environment Agency, and we need to carry this out on a section of road that is currently quite unstable.
"We currently need to ensure the safety of the workforce and people.
"If that is considered incompetent, I take the responsibility above all else.
"The petition calls on ECC to get this done ASAP and that is what we are doing."
MP Kemi Badenoch said: “Cllr Gooding explained the complexities behind what originally seemed like a simple repair.
“The work when completed needs to be solid enough to last for 120 years, and will not be a quick bit of maintenance, but a significant structural build.”
Mrs Badenoch said aspects complicating the repairs include Openreach overhead cables, a water main, a major national pipeline, Gigaclear cables and multiple agencies involved in the process.
She added: “I have been advised by Cllr Bentley that they will be repairing damage to the verges on the diversion route and are exploring placing temporary signage to reinforce the message the roads are narrow.
“The council is unable to change the diversion route due to the low railway bridge which would be difficult for large vehicles to manoeuvre.
“I will continue to raise this matter with ECC to ensure the project is finished as quickly and safely as possible.”
An ECC spokesperson said: “The issues with the embankment and retaining wall are more complex and the length of wall requiring remedial works is longer than first anticipated.
“The wall has been heavily under-scoured and parts have either collapsed or slumped. The embankment has also suffered from severe scouring."