Hatfield Heath: Residents' roadside protest highlights problem of motorists speeding through village
Residents, including schoolchildren, armed with placards gathered at the roadside in Hatfield Heath to protest about speeding motorists.
Mother-of-two Charlotte Sams organised the rush-hour event last Wednesday (Oct 28) between 8am and 9am with the support of the parish council and fellow villagers.
It coincided with an online petition launched by villager Chris Radford calling for speed cameras to be installed along the main A1060 Stortford Road which to date has been signed by more than 670 people.
Hatfield Heath is used as a through route for drivers travelling to and from Bishop's Stortford, Sawbridgeworth, Dunmow, Harlow and Chelmsford.
Charlotte said the protest aimed to demonstrate the strength of public feeling about speeding and to back calls for cameras.
"There have been several near misses on the heath in recent weeks, and cars will often be doing 60/70mph in a 30/40mph zone and everyone's frightened that there'll be an accident soon," she said.
"Just walking my dog around the village or going for a jog made me more aware, and it's certainly a bit hairy when cars go flying past you."
And with a new M11 junction being linked to Sheering, they fear even more traffic will be heading their way.
"It's usually early-morning commuters who speed through, and we're out at this time with all the children with banners to ask people to slow down and hopefully it will create a real impact."
Charlotte lives with husband James and daughters Georgia, 11, and Anna, 8, in Clipped Hedge. She said the village's response to her appeal to join the protest had been amazing.
Speaking before the event, she said: "It's gone crazy, everyone's saying they're coming out. Because of Covid restrictions people are standing at all the speeding hotspots throughout the village wearing masks and keeping their distance, and we're asking people to post photos to show the impact of this protest around the village."
Mark Lemon, who represents the village on Uttlesford District Council, said that speeding was a long-running problem that he and the parish council had been trying to solve for a number of years.
"Over that time we've put forward several schemes, such as roundabouts and requests for a zebra crossing, to try to slow the flow of traffic but haven't been able to get anywhere," he said.
"It's really a huge concern, particularly in the mornings. Our primary school has 200 children, there are lots of youngsters who have to cross the road without a crossing and the bus picks up older children who also have to cross the road.
"Traffic is increasing all the time, but speed doesn't seem to slow down.
"This protest is about bringing it to the authorities' attention that they need to deal with speed, that it's urgent and something needs to be done. This demonstration shows the level of public concern."