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Hadham Road crossing campaigner calls for action on safety for students

Schoolchildren are being forced to navigate floodwater on their walk to school in Bishop’s Stortford as Hadham Road becomes ever more difficult to navigate for pedestrians.

Five years of pleading for a safe crossing to stop secondary students and primary pupils from being forced onto the “shambles of a footpath” at the bottom of Bells Hill have so far failed.

Campaigner Helen Fletcher has stepped up the pressure on East Herts district and Herts county councils to act.

Flooding outside Bricklayers Court
Flooding outside Bricklayers Court

She has generated widespread support for the crossing near Maze Green Road so pupils walking to and from Bishop's Stortford College, Hockerill Anglo-European College, Herts and Essex High School, St Mary's Catholic School and Northgate and Windhill21 primaries do not have to run the gauntlet of cars and lorries.

The path without the crossing is perilous because the developer of nine flats on the site of the former Bricklayer’s Arms pub is yet to reinstate a proper pavement and the building remains surrounded by hoarding.

Helen has once again appealed to Hertfordshire county councillors Calvin Horner and Alastair Ward-Booth to help resolve “the ever-worsening situation trying to cross Hadham Road”.

Parents and schoolchildren show their support for a crossing in Hadham Road
Parents and schoolchildren show their support for a crossing in Hadham Road

She said: “This week has been particularly dangerous as Bells Hill roundabout has been flooded for most of the week and the traffic seems to be getting ever heavier and in more of a rush.

“I literally had to stand in the road to stop the cars so five kids could walk around the massive puddle and onto the footpath. Of course, a pedestrian crossing slightly further up would solve this problem.

“I first raised this five years ago in January 2019. Is it really too much to ask that our kids have a safe walk to school?”

Plans for the crossing have been complicated by technical difficulties ramping up the cost, but in the summer there were hopeful signs a fix had been found.

Hertfordshire County Council has yet to respond to an Indie request for a progress report.

Cllrs Horner and Ward-Booth have both asked the authority’s highways department to investigate the Bricklayers Court flooding and possible enforcement action if water has been discharged from the site.

East Herts Council is responsible for enforcing planning conditions. Cllr Vicky Glover-Ward, executive member for planning, said: “The developers’ obligation to widen and resurface the footway comes into effect prior to the occupation of the fourth residential unit, as set out in the planning condition. We are not aware that the site has reached this stage yet.

“Highway safety is a crucial aspect of all new development and we will monitor the situation closely to ensure the work fully complies with the permission granted.”

Cllr Glover-Ward urged residents to report any potential planning breaches for investigation.

The flats are being marketed by Billericay estate agent Stanton Hockett. When the Indie contacted the company about the pavement problems, a spokesman said: “We are very sorry to hear this news. I have passed on your concerns to the developer and he has ensured me that he will rectify things straight away as soon he has heard back from the local council.”

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