West Bergholt Traffic Safety Plan
In recent years village residents have become increasingly aware and concerned by the deteriorating safety aspects relating to the level of road traffic in West Bergholt, particularly in the environs of Heathlands Primary School. Parked vehicles in and around New Church Road, particularly in the area of the school in term time, at school opening and closing times and around the area of the Co-op store are known traffic hazards.
These concerns were highlighted in the Parish Plan surveys and became a focal point of the Parish Plan. As a result the Parish Council has been lobbying for measures to be introduced to manage traffic and vehicle speeds in a way that fosters a safe environment. Initial proposals have been submitted to ECC Highways for consideration, and locally some progress has been made with the introduction of a Vehicle Activated Sign in Lexden Road and the introduction of a Community Speed Watch that operates specifically on the roads that feed the school.
In recent months there have been growing concerns that traffic levels will increase particularly given the general growth in Colchester and specifically as a result of new classrooms being constructed at Heathlands School. There is a worry that as the school expands the dangers will get steadily worse and given the lack of mitigation measures to manage traffic and the insufficient recognition of the problem in the school travel plan the Parish Council has drawn up a traffic safety plan to address these safety concerns.
Vision for our Village Traffic Safety Plan
The Parish Council is proposing that a traffic management and parking plan be drawn up to improve the current situation.
The Parish Council has a vision for the future travel environment in the village where walking and cycling become the preferred modes of travel, that traffic levels and parking do not dominate our village and that the safety of adult and child pedestrians remains paramount.
Aims and Objectives of the Village Traffic Management Plan
An enhancement in levels of safety, both perceived and actual, is the fundamental aim of this plan. It needs to ensure that residents can move about the village in safety and be able to access key locations, particularly parents with children on their way to and from school, but also village shops, open spaces and recreational facilities.
The Objectives of the plan are to:
- Improve all aspects of road safety forHeathlandsSchooland nearby feeder roads.
- Manage traffic in a way that prevents congestion, delays and maximises safety
- To improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists
- Maintain access to important travel destinations
It is felt that these Aims and Objectives can be achieved in the following ways:
- by restricting parking in the areas that present the greatest dangers
- by providing alternatives for parents who find it necessary to use a car to transport their children to school.
- by introducing measures that will help to slow traffic down in areas where pedestrians are vulnerable
- by seeking to introduce measures which improve facilities for pedestrian and cyclists
- by producing a geographic scatter graph of pupils’ home post codes and using it to update and reinforce the current school travel plan
- by carrying out structural improvements it is expected that a framework will be provided for the school to look at ways of helping to advise and support parents with children on their way to and from school.
- by establishing a consultation process which allows all organisations and individuals to contribute towards solutions through collaborative dialogue.
Measures that could help to deliver the above Aims.
- A “ Build Out” from the footpath from Mumford Close to be installed in New Church Road
(This project is on the priority list of The Local Highways Panel and is expected to receive approval this financial year)
- “Built up Tables” at each end of New Church Roadand School Lane. These tables would have the appropriate yellow boxed markings and signage to help pedestrians to cross. Yellow lines would then prohibit parking for an appropriate distance each side of each box.
Any obstructions to clear vision at these junctions to be removed, e.g. overgrown hedges.
- The yellow zig-zag lines outside the school entrance to be renewed and extended, in particular as far as the bend in New Church Road to the north of the entrance, marked in red on the attached map.
- New and improved signage is needed on each approach to the school. Flashing lights turned on at the time of entering and leaving school and operated by the school would further enhance safety but it is appreciated that these may need to be added at a later date.
- A new footpath to be created on Poors Land, just inside the hedge running from Colchester Road to the boundary with the Heath. Access to the path to be made at the Treble Tile end and through the gap at the Heath end to join up with the existing footpath from School Lane.
- The car parks at the Orpen Hall, the Church Hall and the Treble Tile public house to be made fully available for the use of school parents from 8.30 to 9.00am and 3.00 to 3.30pm. (Extended parking beyond these times to be discouraged).
- Campaign for a “20 is plenty” speed limit as a minimum on the roads surrounding the school.
- A designated parking space for the disabled to be created on Lexden Road, between Scout Hut and the footpath to the school.
Given the above structural measures The School could then consider the following:
- A ‘Park and Walk’ scheme, staffed by parents, to be organised so the parking venues become drop off and pick up points. A permit scheme could be introduced at the Treble Tile and Church where permits are only issued by the school (maybe at a small fee to cover costs) to parents who have a genuine need to bring their children to school by car. Measures 2, 4, 5 and 6 are designed to help parents feel more secure in using such schemes.
- Parents who do drive to school to be encouraged by the school to operate a voluntary one way system, maybe in School Lane in the first instance.
- The school to review its Travel Plan to ensure that all measures are taken to ensure that pupils that are able do walk or cycle to school. Clear publicity of the above measures for those that do find it necessary to use motorised transport is then needed. The school could consider employing a “parking warden”, possibly paid for from parking permit fees, to help organise and enforce the above measures.
The above measures would be kept under review and if necessary the following implemented:
- The demand for parking at the above venues as the school grows should be monitored and if spaces are insufficient the creation of a drop off area elsewhere in the village should be considered. For instance a pathway along the Poors Land side of Colchester Road could encourage parking here. The pathway created under point 5 would facilitate use of this.
- Speed humps to be installed at appropriate places in New Church Road if deemed necessary after the Built up Tables and Build Out have been tried and fail to impact on the problem.
Next Stages in implementing the Traffic Plan
- Parish Council representatives meet with appropriate School governors and the Headteacher of Heathlands School to confirm support for the plan and prepare for its presentation to the full Governing Body of the school.
- The management of the Co-op store to be consulted about the plan with a view to determining what support it can offer.
- The plan agreed by the Parish Council to be submitted to the Local Highways Panel and the Parking Partnership of Colchester Borough Council for action and implementation.
- There is a presumption that some of the more involved structural work may not be funded in this financial year. Consideration therefore needs to be given to short term, less costly, measures that will move towards the final goal, e.g. road markings at the key junctions that would increase motorist’s awareness of the dangers surrounding the school.
- Parish Council to determine what funding it is able to provide for parts of the plan not covered by other means, e.g. Poors Land footpath.
- Parish Council to consider improvements to Orpen Hall parking area, e.g. resurfacing and marking out of parking spaces.
- The agreement with the management of the Treble Tile public house for the use of its car park to be confirmed.
- The Church to be consulted about its role in implementing the plan.
- Consideration to be given to making the plan available to village residents and the means of their opportunities for further dialogue and consultation.