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New hope for Bishop's Stortford families campaigning for a safe crossing in Hadham Road



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Parents campaigning for a pedestrian crossing in Bishop's Stortford's Hadham Road have finally made progress after three years of pressure.

Exasperated families launched a petition in February in a last-ditch attempt to force Hertfordshire County Council to find funding for the vital safety measure on the A1250 near Maze Green Road.

The road is used by pupils at Bishop's Stortford College, Hockerill Anglo-European College, Herts and Essex High School, St Mary's Catholic School and Northgate and Windhill21 primaries as a route to and from school.

Cllr Alastair Ward-Booth joins families campaigning for a pedestrian crossing in Hadham Road
Cllr Alastair Ward-Booth joins families campaigning for a pedestrian crossing in Hadham Road

One of the campaigners, Helen Fletcher, said: "The lack of a crossing makes it extremely dangerous for pedestrians to cross the road during school drop-off times and this situation is getting worse as more and more new housing developments are occupied to the west of the town, including the large Stortford Fields estate.

"The county council should have made provision for improved road safety on Hadham Road in the planning conditions for Stortford Fields, yet a crossing in this location does not qualify for any of the £3m transport provision associated with the development.

"This now needs to be put right and funds should be provided urgently to avoid a serious accident."

Then councillor Colin Woodward supports families at the start of their campaign to get a Hadham Road crossing in 2019
Then councillor Colin Woodward supports families at the start of their campaign to get a Hadham Road crossing in 2019

Two years ago former county councillor for Stortford West division Colin Woodward used part of his highways budget to commission a vehicle speed and volume survey plus a pedestrian survey which proved the crossing was required.

Since then, his successor, Cllr Alastair Ward-Booth, has backed the campaign and finally been able to report some good news.

Design work has begun and Cllr Ward-Booth, who is also an East Herts Council member, is hopeful he will soon have a firm indication of costs and a possible timetable.

He is hopeful the location might be suitable for a zebra crossing, without lights, which would cut the price.

Cllr Alastair Ward-Booth
Cllr Alastair Ward-Booth

In the meantime, he has made it clear to the county council that section 106 highways cash from Taylor Wimpey North Thames' new homes at Patmore Close should fund the crossing.

Cllr Ward-Booth told the campaigners: "I continue to raise the progress of the Hadham Road crossing with officers at my regular monthly meetings and appreciate progress is slow, but it is moving in the right direction.

"The interim design has been completed and is now with the county council's street lighting team to produce a more detailed design in terms of the required electrical work and cost. This element also involves redesign of the street lighting system to ensure the area in the vicinity of the crossing is lit to the required standards.

Hadham Road where families are campaigning for a crossing as the road is so dangerous and difficult to cross. Vikki Lince. (55724862)
Hadham Road where families are campaigning for a crossing as the road is so dangerous and difficult to cross. Vikki Lince. (55724862)

"The county council team are also looking at the footway from the point of the proposed crossing, on the southern side of Hadham Road, up to the [Bishop's Stortford] College entrance to see if there's scope to make improvements, perhaps by slightly widening it to make it more user friendly."

In a further step forward, he said that long-awaited resurfacing of Hadham Road was due to take place in 2022-23.

New homes at Stortford Fields have increased traffic on Hadham Road
New homes at Stortford Fields have increased traffic on Hadham Road

The changes cannot come soon enough for campaigners. In the last few weeks, Ms Fletcher said, there had been a near-miss involving a Herts and Essex High School student and a parent had to stand in the road to stop traffic to enable a wheelchair-bound pupil to cross.

She told the council: "My daughter's now in Year 7 and desperate to be independent and walk to school on her own – as she should be able to. The only way for her to cross Hadham Road is to wait for the traffic to stop. With no crossing, this is incredibly dangerous for a child to do as they will misjudge whether a car is slowing down or stopping to let them cross. It is literally an accident waiting to happen.

Stortford Fields construction has caused extra congestion on Hadham Road
Stortford Fields construction has caused extra congestion on Hadham Road

"It's not acceptable that children cannot cross the road safely when millions of pounds are being made from the extra traffic caused by the developments that are putting them at further risk."

A spokesman for HCC said the 2019 survey had proved traffic volume was high enough to require a crossing but that the project had not attracted core funding because there was no "collision history" in the past five years.

He said: "New pedestrian crossing facilities by their nature are often complex in terms of the work required, and it is not unusual for the process from concept to delivery to span two or more years."

To sign the petition, see visit https://democracy.hertfordshire.gov.uk/ and click on petitions.



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