For the first time the UDC Cabinet have admitted that traffic in Saffron Walden is horrible and going to get worse. That’s one of the reasons why residents and voters hate their plan to dump 1,000 houses on the inaccessible east of Saffron Walden.
UDC Cabinet member Robert Chambers: “The number of cars on the road will make it impossible to get in and out of Saffron Walden.”
He was recently quoted in the Saffron Walden Reporter (page 13) in an article about traffic and congestion. If you cut through all the nonsense suggestions about hover-cars, there are some serious points.
In the interview Cllr Robert Chambers seemed to dismiss the idea of new roads:
UDC Cabinet member Robert Chambers: “People don’t like to see new roads built and there is never enough money to resurface them.”
We’re not sure people don’t like new roads. If Saffron Walden had a decent east-to-west road system it may be able to handle new homes on the east. But it hasn’t. It has what, in effect is, a network of medieval cow tracks that have been paved over. Residents like it quaint and historic, but it just isn’t built for 1,000s of cars an hour. And no one has really stood back and taken a look at the network as a whole and tried to engineer a town-wide solution.
The lack of a decent road network is one of the reasons UDC’s own planners recommend no more than 250 new homes in Saffron Walden over the next 15 years. So why has the UDC Cabinet taken a political decision to allow 1,000s?
The UDC Cabinet member went on to suggest some near-term approaches to reduce the issues:
UDC Cabinet member Robert Chambers: “We’re going to do our part by trying to keep traffic moving and lower pollution – something that could be encouraged by one way systems on roads such as Ashdon Road – but in the longer term something more drastic will be needed to overcome the problem”.
This is the first time anyone at UDC has come up with any suggestions of how we may deal with the traffic issues. Because of queuing traffic the town already has 4 areas that have illegal levels of pollution, so residents need solutions now. But helping Ashdon Rd doesn’t really deal with the whole east-west problem. The only solutions that UDC have looked at so far has been slapping in more sets of traffic lights. But they don’t work and study after study has shown they make queuing and pollution even worse.
Come on UDC , instead of sitting on the true facts hidden in Traffic Assessment, we need you to work with Essex County Council on a proper strategic highways plan for Saffron Walden . Get on your bike, not your hover board!