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Letters to the Editorr

Views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the editor or those of the BDRA. Information is published in good faith but no liability can be accepted for loss or inconvenience arising from error or omission.

Dear Editor,

In your May issue, under ‘Committee News’ you ask for possible solutions to parking on Highway Verges and the unsightly damage that results.
As a town we seem to have gone soft on pavement parking which is illegal and causes damage and displacement of kerbstones, as well as a hindrance to pedestrians especially to those with double-width pushchairs – and is dangerous for those who are blind or have poor eyesight.  When others see vehicles so parked, it is merely copycat behaviour that encourages them to park likewise and use grass verges in a similar manner.
The solution is to toughen-up and have zero tolerance toward any parking using the pavement or verges unless special and authorised permission is granted.  A publicity warning will need to be given before enforcement begins.  There are now ‘spy cars’ zooming around to film the local scene as regards unauthorised parking and these could be used for ordinary street parking.  The issue of ‘First Time’ notices could include a warning and state the penalty fee that will be demanded for a second offence.  Once this becomes known, I am sure that bad habits will soon change and our environment will be protected and improved as a consequence. Those who don’t change will have to continue to pay the penalty and contribute toward the cost of repairing pavements and verges.
Just a thought.
With kind regards,
P. Furness
Dear Editor,

Verging on the ridiculous?

Many residents express concerns and seek remedial action over the state of our roads, verges & footpaths. My own efforts have included photographing damage in The Rising, The Meadoway and Cavell Road and writing to Cllr. Kay Twitchen, OBE, who is Essex CC Member for Billericay and Burstead. Her efforts on our behalf are appreciated, but from the ECC officials’ response there appears little or no prospect of any programme of repairs to our local roads, footpaths & verges. Lest anyone doubts this grim outlook the response on The Rising was:-

All the defects
identified were not considered dangerous and have been entered into our system for consideration for future works but will not be prioritised at this stage”.
Similar phrasing was received on the The Meadoway & Cavell Road. I interpret “will not be prioritised” as “nothing will be done”

So my question is “what can and should BDRA do to improve the prospect of full maintenance of our local roads?”

Is there an opportunity for local action to change the behaviour of those who see pavements and grass verges as an extension of the road surface?  Should those who block pavements, eg with parked vehicles, be prosecuted? Should residents be asked to take on responsibility for maintaining verges next to their homes? Should residents be invited to submit proposals for improving parking facilities adjacent to their homes? Should planning standards require wider garages that modern cars can use? Should our planners refuse applications for garage conversions for residential use? Should residents’ parking permits be introduced across the whole of Billericay? Should our Town Council be allowed to raise funds for road & footpath maintenance?

Today Essex CC spends our taxes on inspection with little prospect of appropriate action. There is an efficient problem reporting system, but no budget for minor repairs. Does Billericay need to find its own solution, or must we accept a gradual decline in the quality of our street scene?
I enclose a photo of damage done by
drainage work contractors.

Norman Lamb