London Road Crossing

LATEST UPDATE - A Stage 2 Route Assessment has been completed by Road Safety Engineers between Simon Balle School and Hertford Heath. The result of this route assessment can be viewed here.

Meeting at County Hall - 5 June 2019

Sue Felgate (Parish Clerk) and I attended a meeting at the County Hall to discuss with council officials what progress had been made following the road accident involving a child walking to school, some five months earlier, on January 21.

Following this incident, the Parish Council and the residents of Hertford Heath expressed their concern for the safety of their children making their way to schools in Hertford (Richard Hale and Simon Balle). Pleas were made to the County Council and a petition was sent to Mark Prisk (MP) to make the passage to school for the villagers’ children safe, particularly before the winter nights set in.

Progress

Things have moved forward at a Brexit-like pace. In short, we were told why things were difficult and why, in real terms, nothing positive had been done. We were shown statistics about the number of accidents on the road. We were told that the only existing crossing point of the road, outside the entrance to Foxholes Farm, was “probably the worst possible place for anyone to cross”.

All accepted that with the bend, the dip, the overhanging trees and the low sun in winter that this is a very dangerous place to cross the road. This is especially true for children.

Possible Solutions

We were told that to cross the road in an alternative place would mean extending either the Southern footpath or the Northern footpath, some distance, to a less dangerous spot. We were told that no progress had been made as ownership of this land was unclear and that no adjacent landowners had been approached. We were told that essential services might be under the road and that would mean that this job would escalate in cost. No one knew if this was the case or not.

No plans or accurate costings of any such crossing were presented.

We asked if it was possible to for a “Lollipop” person to help the children cross the road, we were told that the police deemed it too dangerous a place to do it and that secondary school children didn’t qualify.

On behalf of the village, I asked if, in the meantime, a bus could be provided to take the children safely to their Hertford schools. This happens with pupils at Presdales School in Ware. We were told that this could not be funded as the road had been examined and designated “safe”. We have challenged both the qualification of the examiner and the validity of the examination. The Parish Council cannot appeal this decision. Appeals have to come from parents.

Conclusion

Nothing tangible has happened and, in my view, it’s unlikely anything will happen before the winter is upon us. As a Parish Council we are pushing hard for progress, but we are dealing with the ponderous machinations of Local Government.

A key missing statistic is the number of children from the village attending (now and next year) the two schools mentioned.

To move this forward the village parents and the schools, Richard Hale and Simon Balle, will need to become proactive. Hertford Heath Parish Council will offer support and help.

Nigel Lomas
Chair HHPC

Note - This is not the recorded minute of the meeting and is my personal interpretation of the event.

August 2019
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