'Seven years and still no crossing for Stansted's Lower Street'
Campaigners for a pedestrian crossing in Stansted’s Lower Street are calling for it to be finished - seven years after the project was first agreed and seven months since work began to install it.
The site outside the Queen's Head pub has been abandoned following the initial phase of work, with taped up posts and plastic barriers cluttering up the roadside. Painting of the crossing stripes has yet to be done.
Retired former chair of Stansted Parish Council, Peter Jones, who lives close to the site, has demanded answers from Essex Highways and Stansted’s own county councillor Ray Gooding.
“I’m asking for an update on the pedestrian crossing or rather, the lack of it,” said Mr Jones. “It really does seem impossible to believe that it’s coming into the seventh year.
Yesterday (Tues) he joined parish chair Cllr Maureen Caton and parish and district member Cllr Geoffrey Sell for an online meeting with Mr Gooding.
"What I find amazing is that there have been many opportunities during the last year when that work could have been carried out with relatively little disruption to local traffic. I can just see them doing it when we revert to much normal levels of activity and it really is unacceptable."
It was in August 2019 that work on the crossing was finally given the green light, to the relief of campaigners concerned about the safety of pedestrians, and in particular schoolchildren, having to cross the busy road.
Under a 106 planning agreement, Hilton Properties Ltd was meant to fund the crossing before occupation of the Castle Maltings site that it developed. But objections from businesses in Lower Street following a public consultation delayed its installation and then concerns grew that the scheme had “slipped through the cracks".
Cllr Sell said: "I know that this is something that Stansted residents have been asking for for a long time and quite rightly, some are getting quite impatient.
"At the meeting with Ray Gooding this morning we were pushing him on a number of outstanding highways issues for Stansted, including Cambridge Road and Grove Hill, and he agreed things have been too slow to progress.
"But some of these things rumble on far too long in my view. We will need the crossing in Lower Street. The increase in the volumes of traffic, particularly with the amount of building in Elsenham and Henham, obviously means it becomes more important."
An Essex Highways Spokesperson said: “The crossing is being built by a contractor on behalf of the local developer company which is funding the project. There has been an unfortunate delay, including pending connection of the beacons to the power supply by UK Power Networks.
"We continue to press all parties involved to meet their obligations without further delays.”