NEW Local Highways Panel

June 24, 2012 by  

The NEW Local Highways Panel, consisting of some District Councillors, has asked Shaun Scrutton to find out from other Members what new highways schemes they would like the  NEW Local Highways Panel to consider using the £427,808 budget available from Essex County Council.
Prior to the abolition of the Area Committees all Councillors, including those from the Parish Councils, had a direct input to argue the case for their areas.  But not now.
The Local Highways Panel is a forum for county and district Members to jointly consider and prioritise elements of highways spend in the district.

For 2012/13, a total of £427,808 has been allocated to Rochford by County Highways covering the following capital budget lines:

traffic management improvements;
tackling congestion;
safer roads (including casualty reduction);
public rights of way schemes;
cycling schemes;
passenger transport improvements; and
minor highway improvement schemes.
The Rochford District Residents Group, Christine and John Mason, representing Hawkwell West, has put forward a list of needs which had been been drawn to their attention by ordinary residents over the last few years and remain unfufilled.
1.  We have received representations from residents of our Ward about the lack of lighting and footways between Nursery Corner and The Cemetery in Hall Road. In addition there is no cyclepath from where it stops adjacent to the Cherry Orchard Way Roundabout  and it would be appropriate to extend this to Hawkwell West to join up with the cyclepath provision being made by David Wilson Homes in Rectory Road and provide a cyclepath link to Clements Hall Leisure Centre.  In addition given the provision of affordable housing it would be appropriate to add a cyclepath link from Rectory Road to Hockley where these residents could access services there on a timely basis other than using the poor bus service.
2. Residents have complained that the surface of Poplars Avenue is unacceptable
3.  There is flooding in the highway in Rectory Road adjoining the DWH Site which results in residents being unable to use the footway in rain as they are deluged by traffic……..there is no footway on the other side.  The drainage needs to be improved given the use the footway will have from new residents who have to walk.
4.  Whilst DWH will move the street furniture in Rectory Road the footway is still far too narrow and DWH will not pay for widening. It was agreed by ECC at the Central Area Committee that the risk of pedestrians being struck is real.  Widening please by ECC or inclusion in Section 106.    
We don’t know what ideas the NEW Local Highways Panel had for themselves in their first meeting because Mr. Scrutton says that we will find out when the Minutes are published………….he has not replied telling us when that might be.
We hope that we will get a full explanation of what schemes are eventually chosen.  We will publish the Minutes of this important NEW Local Highways Panel because it controls a huge budget of something close to half a million pounds to be spent in our District. As a fall back we have asked Forum Member Lib Dem Councillor Chris Black to let us know the outcome of the discussions on our proposals because we believe that you have a right to be fully informed.
We are still wondering how the £200,000 New Homes Bonus that the Council will receive from the Government for allowing 176 houses to be built in Hawkwell West will be spent.  A policy was promised in the last Council Budget but not until November 2012. Will any of it benefit the blighted communities? Again we believe that you have a right to know how this will be spent. Or will it just get absorbed into the overall Budget?
Finally there is another smaller pot of money for Highways repairs.  
Highway Rangers
A revenue budget of £130,000 has been allocated for the Highway Rangers to work in the district.  As a reminder the Rangers can carry out works in the following categories:

cleaning & minor repairs (non electrical road signs and bollards);
reinstatement of posts & bollards where no excavation is required;
small repairs to concrete surfaces;
trimming of vegetation;
ad hoc grass cutting & strimming;
repairs to roadside verges;
drainage repairs;
removal of graffiti from road signs;
painting of street furniture (posts, bollards & benches etc);
removal of weeds;
removal of small non hazardous fly tips from highway land;
removal of illegal signs & fly-posting.

 Please let us know if there are any repairs you would like Christine and I to request.


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