Readers' Letters: 'Plans for the Burnham Road are a road safety risk'

By The Editor

7th Sep 2021 | Readers Letters

The Burnham Road at South Woodham Ferrers
The Burnham Road at South Woodham Ferrers

The following is a letter from Mike Benning, a member of the Woodham Infrastructure Group. The group is campaigning for a new South Woodham Ferrers bypass, with fears that current Essex County Council and Chelmsford City Council plans for the Burnham Road will spell problems for the town and for those travelling to and from the Dengie area:

The B1012 Burnham Road at South Woodham Ferrers is currently the by pass for the town but once the new

houses have been built it will bisect the town and the new development.

Chelmsford City Council wish to transform it into a 'street' having property frontages, etc., with the intention of encouraging residents to cycle and walk more and provide a safe link for the new residents to walk/cycle into town.

This is commendable but we Brits do not benefit from the inherent Dutch culture of cycling. Equally we have many more hills and many less safe cycle paths than our Dutch friends.

To achieve their aim the only viable option for Chelmsford City Council and County Highways is

to provide a new bypass to the north of the new development.

The council acknowledges that SWF has an increasing ageing population. They have conveniently forgotten this in their Masterplan. Conjure up this picture in your mind's eye.

Do they expect those of us residents who are now past our best before dates to cycle to Sainsbury's for our weekly shop? Imagine the sight of hundreds of us with two overflowing bags of shopping precariously

balanced on either handlebar wobbling around the narrow Sainsbury's roundabout in the pouring rain (avoiding the flooded road) before attacking the

incline of Burnham 'Street' on our overloaded bicycles. Puffing and panting as we struggle uphill whilst being buffeted in the slipstream of the fleet of Bradwell B lorries as they belch out their diesel fumes whilst they double de-clutch into lower gears trying vainly to

accelerate up the same hill.

Essex County Highways are leaders in the Essex Safer Roads Partnership. Is this really what they are advocating?

One other fact the planners have forgotten. Over 90 per cent of the economically active in SWF commute to work. Over 87 per cent of them use their car for their daily commute' ( CCC's Neighbourhood Plan for SWF).

With even more people now using their own cars to avoid public transport and if the same proportion of workers from the new development followed suit a reasonable estimate of another 2,000 cars would join the daily SWF exodus. Not forgetting the increase in

commuters from new development in the Dengie that Chelmsford City Council also totally ignores.

Do council planners really expect all these people to cycle to work and complete the return journey each evening, particularly along all the unlit approach roads to SWF in the darkness of mid-winter?

Cycling home from Chelmsford, after a long day in the office, do you brave Danbury Hill or Creephedge Lane? What a choice to look forward to each evening. CCC Planners probably do expect this as in their

submission for the Bradwell B consultation they suggest any Bradwell B workers living in SWF should cycle back and forth to the Power Station. In fairness they suggested the luxury of electric bikes!

Their approach is a recipe for yet more accidents with the poor cyclist the victim every time. Do Essex County Council and Chelmsford City Concil really care about road safety?

Those victims are real people not just statistics. They all have families waiting for them to arrive home. But who cares? Providing we can get the Masterplan approved and keep the developers happy that's

what really matters...isn't it?

Provision of a new bypass would enable all the Dengie commuters to avoid the town, ease egress and access for all the SWF commuters and provide a safe traffic calmed link into the town for all the new

residents and their children attending William De Ferrers School.

A WIN WIN solution for everybody.

Mike Benning, Woodham Infrastructure Group


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