We were advised by Bellway in the summer that all highways related remedial works were to be finished by the end of September. It would seem that there is still much work to do. There are two safety bollards on pedestrian access ways that have been missing for many months, weeds are growing everywhere again and there are still sunken manhole covers and other issues that have not yet been addressed.
We chased Bellway who have advised that the contractor has unfortunately been pulled onto another project. As such works are planned to commence again from Monday 18th October for circa 2 weeks after which Bellway will arrange for a further Highways inspection to get the roads on the mandatory 12 month maintenance period.
As reported a couple of weeks back, there were 7 lamp columns across both phases which required remedial work due to being damaged, an incorrect column or where the mounting height was incorrect. Bellway have advised that the lighting work has been completed and all lights should now be working. If you believe that any lamps are not working, please report HERE.
Traffic Regulation Order (TRO)
Earlier in the year there was a public consultation which included proposals for a 20mph speed limit across all of Channels, traffic calming measures and extension of double yellow lines around the bus route.
There were a small number of objections to the extended double yellow lines (mainly from residents on Albatross Way which runs between Croudace & Pompadour) however the need for extended double yellow lines is clear as the roads are often blocked around the bus route, an example of which is shown in the picture below along Brassie Wood:
County Councillor Mike Steel provided an update at the Little Waltham Parish Council meeting held on 5th October. Due to the negative feedback received via the public consultation, a compromise approach was discussed with Highways with the aim of keeping traffic flowing, even with buses stopping, whilst still allowing residents to park outside their houses. Our understanding is that the compromise solution tends to have restrictions just on one side of the road and at junctions.
If there are no further queries following the new proposal going to Cabinet (elected members), it is this version that will be taken forward in the form of a new TRO. We have not seen the revised proposal.
We are also aware that Bellway are continuing to discuss revised traffic calming and safety measures with Highways and as these formed part of the original TRO, it is not clear whether this will lead to a further delay. It is therefore unlikely that changes will be introduced any earlier than the end of this calendar year.
Directors/Remus have received a number of queries in relation to the poor state of roads due to excessive weed growth, both in blocked paved areas and at kerb edges. Whilst we could have paid Olly to undertake work to remove all of the weeds, it is a Bellway responsibility and there is a risk that we would not have been able to recover the costs incurred.
The good news is that work on removing all of the weeds has now started and will continue for the next week across the entire Bellway development. You may well see two men scraping weeds from the kerbside edges today around Aqua Verde and they will begin on Eagle Rise next week.
It would be appreciated if you could utilise your driveway space as much as possible whilst the work is ongoing to ensure there is clear access to all areas.
We have received information from Bellway in relation to remedial works required to the road areas that will eventually be adopted by Essex Highways. The timelines are as follows:
- RDR: Work commenced on the 10th May 2021 with planned completion by Friday 21st May 2021;
- Aqua Verde: Work to commence Monday 17th May 2021 through to Friday 28th May 2021;
- Eagle Rise: Work to commence Tuesday 1st June 2021 completing on Saturday 12th June 2021.
Bellway will be using the nursery site as their compound area throughout the above periods.
Following significant feedback from residents we have now formally engaged a Parking Management Company to help improve the parking across the development.
This has been necessary due to increased health and safety issues in the manner that vehicles are being parked on pavements, landscaped areas, turning heads blocking signage and on corners forcing vehicles into the centre of the road into on coming traffic.
The scheme will also prevent the inevitable parking issues with the opening of Channels Park. Further discussions are still being held with Highways regarding traffic calming options.
A detailed letter will shortly be forthcoming from Remus which will provide further information on the scheme. A short period of grace will follow allowing residents, where applicable, to amend current parking practices and for signage to be installed. The scheme will be Permit and Visitor App based.
We thank you in advance for your cooperation and hope you see this as another positive step to improve the safety of residents and visitors.
CCMC Ltd Directors
As residents will be aware from previous updates, both CCMC Ltd Directors and the Community Group have been in regular contact with Chelmsford City Council (via planning officers and councillors) about the estate roads remedial work, maintenance issues and safety concerns, some of which are parking related as evidenced by the recent incident where emergency vehicles could not navigate to their destination.
The update below, as at 17th September, has been received from the City Council following ongoing discussion between planning officers, Bellway & Essex Highways:
The remedial works (weed removal, repair of broken paving etc) to be undertaken to the Phase 1 and 2 roads are being left for now so that they can be undertaken alongside the implementation of the traffic calming scheme for both phases.
Bellway had a further meeting with Essex Highways last week and they are due to issue the engineers report and the traffic calming scheme next week. I have previously advised that all of the matters you and other residents raised regarding traffic speeds, parking issues, additional yellow lines, were discussed at the meeting between Bellway and Essex Highways so they were fully aware of the issues when drawing up the scheme. I have also indicated that you will have the opportunity to comment on the scheme, but understandably Bellway do not want to be sharing a scheme with you and other residents, before they know that the highway authority can lend its support.
The works to the RDR are agreed and as such Bellway will recommence on site at the end of next week; these works will, I understand, complete the crossing, bus gate and the connection with the Beaulieu section of the RDR.
Bellway will be looking to keep you informed of their progress going forward.
Whilst the above does not provide any specifics, it does at least demonstrate that concerns have been considered and the perceived delay in progressing some matters is due to plans being re-worked.
As soon as we have a further update it will be communicated and especially prior to any local enforcement measures being implemented in relation to parking.
On behalf of the Directors
Channels (Chelmsford) Management Company Ltd
Further to previous updates, and escalation via City Councillors, we have been assured that Bellway will be progressing all highways remedial works, including addressing the weeds, during August & September. We should therefore see contractors back on site for the next few weeks prior to a further inspection being carried out by Essex County Council Highways.
It is important to note that previous advice from Bellway indicated a full inspection can only take place if all parts of the highway are fully visible.
This means that everything in front gardens must be contained fully within your boundaries and to prevent any further delay with the adoption process, residents are asked to ensure that all plants & shrubs are cut back during the coming weeks so that all roads and pavements are fully visible.
As discussed at the residents meeting, the issue of road maintenance has been flagged with City Councillors in an attempt to progress the concerns that everyone has, especially in relation to the weeds. The issue was escalated again this morning and the following response has been received from the City Council Planning Department:
Essex Highways have extensively walked both Phases 1 and 2 of the Channels development and provided Bellway with a detailed list of defects in November 2019. Bellway must rectify those defects before those phases of development are put on a years maintenance and monitoring; if after that year has passed, Essex Highways are satisfied with the condition of the roads they will then move to adopt them.
Following a recent conversation with the Bellway Technical team, their contractor is due back on site in August and September to recommence rectifying the list of identified defects. Essex Highways have impressed upon Bellway the need to rectify the list in its entirety. I understand that there is due to be a change in personnel at Bellway shortly and a different team member will oversee this work; the gentleman who will be taking on this role has already been spoken to and they are fully aware of what needs to be done.
Unfortunately the above statement does not really tell us anything new and it still does not address why Bellway is not being pushed harder by the council to deal with the weeds, notwithstanding the hard surfacing remedial work that needs to be undertaken.
A response will be drafted and discussed with the City Councillors who assisted us previously in ensuring that Bellway fulfilled their obligations.
We have received notification that Bellway are negotiating with Essex Highways and their contractor to finish off remedial works across Eagle Rise & Aqua Verde (which will include installation of speed limit signs and traffic calming features) plus all remaining items relating to the Radial Distributor Road signals and Bus Gate.
In addition Surface Water Drains still require adoption and once the sewers have been adopted, charges for surface water drainage from Anglian Water will be applicable.
At present Bellway are looking at an 8 week programme to completion with all works being finished on site close to Easter.
At our final site walk-around with Bellway in November, there was agreement that POD Management would arrange for all of our roads to be properly sprayed (for weeds) and thoroughly cleaned with a road sweeper. The cost of this will fall to Bellway.
POD have confirmed that the cleaning and spraying process has been booked for Thursday 9th January 2020. All residents are kindly asked to ensure that, where possible, vehicles are parked off of the roads and on driveways for this day so that the road sweeper can access all highway and shared pavement areas of the Bellway development.
Andrew Wright, Director
Channels (Chelmsford) Management Company Ltd