Who is responsible for roads in the parish and what responsibility does the parish council have?
All of the roads and footpaths in the parish of Wickham Bishops are the responsibility of Essex County Council’s highways department.
Wickham Bishops Parish Council does not have direct responsibility but can make recommendations to Essex County Council on behalf of the parish and based on the feedback of its residents
Essex County Council run a “Local Highways Panel” for each district – this is a committee made of up local county, district and parish councillors who consider requests for minor road schemes in the district. This is the primary route for minor road works to be requested and prioritised. Unfortunately there is a significant amount of competition for the limited funds available.
What is the council doing to reduce speed through the village?
The Parish Council is continually exploring opportunities to reduce the speed of traffic through the village.
In the last few years we have successfully lobbied Essex County Council Highways to install speed warning signs and add painted 30 mph speed limit signs on the carriageway.
In 2018 the Parish Council was successful in having the 30mph speed limit extended from the church-end of Church Road to the junction with Mope Lane
In July 2019 white entrance gates were installed on Witham Road and Maypole Road which reinforce to drivers that they are entering a residential area.
Following their installation Essex County Council will conduct another speed survey to measure to see if there has been a reduction in average speeds through the village.
The next traffic calming measure that the Parish Council is lobbying for is to add “build outs” to the road which narrow the carriageway causing drivers to reduce their speed.
The Parish Council funds Maldon District Council Officers who use “Trucam” cameras to detect speeding drivers which results in fines, speed awareness courses and/or prosecution and points on licences for drivers who are caught.
This is further supported by the Parish Council-led “Speedwatch” scheme where volunteers are trained to use speed guns to detect speeding drivers. Drivers who are caught are sent warning letters and may be visited by the police.
How do I report a pothole or a damage or danger on the highway?
Damage or maintenance issues to the highway should be reported to Essex County Council Highways via https://www.essexhighways.org/tell-us/report-all-issues.aspx
Any situations which are dangerous should be reported by phoning 0345 603 7631
Can we have a mini-roundabout at the Mitre (Maypole Road/Blacksmiths Lane/Great Totham Road/School Road) junction?
Mini-roundabouts are limited to only three roads so unfortunately this junction does not meet the criteria for one
Can we have a pedestrian crossing at the Mitre junction?
Again, we have asked for this but without success. Essex Highways have conducted surveys which show that the number of pedestrians, the number of vehicles, the types of vehicles and the speed of the traffic together do not meet the criteria.
Can we have a central island at the Mitre (Maypole Road/Blacksmiths Lane/Great Totham Road/School Road) junction to make crossing the road easier?
We have asked for this but the response is that the road is too narrow at this point to accommodate a central island. If we get the "build outs" (see above) at this point they would make crossing here easier
Can we have a pedestrian crossing at Snow’s Corner?
Unfortunately, the same answer applies to here as to the Mitre junction.
Can we have fixed speed cameras in the village?
As with other requests, the criteria for fixed cameras are not met. Other parishes have bought and installed their own but they are very expensive and the parish would be required to maintain the camera.
As an alternative approach the Parish Council funds Maldon District Council Officers who use “Trucam” cameras to detect speeding drivers which results in fines, speed awareness courses and/or prosecution and points on licences for drivers who are caught.
Who are the people in yellow hi-vis jackets checking vehicle speed?
These are the volunteer Community Speedwatch team. They are residents of the village who have been trained by Essex Police to use an authorised speed device. There are around 15 volunteers in the group and teams are usually out two or three times a week at various times and places for about an hour a time. Vehicles recorded by the teams exceeding the speed limit are reported to Essex Police and the registered keepers are sent letters asking them to remind drivers to adhere to the speed limit. Persistent offenders and very fast drivers can be visited by police. A note of Speedwatch activity including the number of vehicles recorded each month is placed on the parish council noticeboard beside One Stop each month. We’re always happy for more volunteers to join the team – contact email@example.com.
Could the speed limit through the village be reduced to 20 mph?
There are strict national criteria regarding speed limits and when they can be reduced to 20. Unfortunately the parish does not meet this criteria.
Could the speed limit up Blue Mills Hill/Witham Road be reduced? What is the council doing to make Blue Mills Hill/Witham Road safer?
At the Parish Council’s request a speed survey was undertaken on Blue Mills Hill/Witham Road in 2017 and unfortunately the average speeds were not high enough to meet the criteria to have the limit reduced. Additionaly, a request for double while lines down the centre of the carriage way did not meet the relevant criteria and was denied. Essex County Highways are evaluating a request for additional signs to warn of the dangers on this road.
What is the council doing to make the Maypole Road/Prince Of Wales Road/Kelvedon Road/Back Lane junction safer?
This junction is in Great Totham Parish. Great Totham Parish Council are exploring options to improve the safety of this junction with Essex County Council. Wickham Bishops Parish Council is supporting Great Totham in this respect.
What are you doing to make crossing Blue Mills bridge easier?
Wickham Bishops Parish Council worked with the Braintree District Local Highways Panel to have the “Benton Hall” traffic lights (at the junction of Maldon Road and Blue Mills Hill) reconfigured to operate from 6am to 9pm every day. This change came into operation in January 2020 and was confirmed as permanent in May 2020. The staggering of the traffic caused by the traffic lights improves the flow of the traffic over the bridge by causing gaps in the traffic coming towards Wickham Bishops.
I have concerns about traffic or parking around Great Totham Primary School
Great Totham Primary School is within Great Totham Parish. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please can a pavement be installed from the houses at the Witham Road/Mope Lane junction to the centre of the village?
Unfortunately there is insufficient width of verge along the road from Mope Lane to enable a pavement to be installed.
Please can a pavement be installed on Tiptree Road from Mackmurdo Place to Snows Corner?
This is being pursued through the Local Highways Panel. The intention was that there should be a pavement from Mackmurdo Place to Snows Corner but problems arose with trees at the roadside and the need to establish ownership of areas adjoining the carriageway. Essex Highways have also raised concerns about the cost of relocating the utilities which are located along hte proposed footpath route. The council is continuing to press for this work to be scheduled.
Why are the weeds beyond Blue Mills bridge allowed to grow to obstruct visibility at least twice every year?
Highways has limited funds and despite the Parish Council urging them to be proactive and cut the weeds as part of a frequent and regular programme, will not act until the weeds have become a problem – which has to be reported to Highways via the Report-a-Problem link. The Parish Council reports the weeds 2 to 3 times each year, but residents are welcome to report the issue as soon as it becomes apparent