Residents urge Southend Council to take action on A127 ‘rat run’

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Residents have renewed their pleas for the council to act over a road they say has become a dangerous rat run to the A127.

The residents living on Oakwood Avenue, in Southend, have carried out an 18-month campaign calling for the speed limit on their road to be cut and access to the A127 closed.

Council officers had said that nothing should be done about the road following a recent traffic survey, but councillors went against the recommendation at a meeting on Monday.

They agreed to have three ward councillors meet with the council’s highways department to begin exploring a viable solution.

Councillor Stephen Aylen (IND) who represents the Belfairs ward, said he hoped it would give the residents renewed faith in council decisions.

He said: “People in Oakwood Avenue felt let down by the council and by councillors after they heard about the initial recommendation and may thought why even bother but hopefully they will now see that we have argued their case and we are going to get something going.”

Mr Aylen explained that there is no guarantee that changes will be made to the road but said they will “go away, look at it sensibly, see what options are available and what can be done, if anything”.

Residents had raised concerns about the road being used as a rat run, particularly during major work to improve the Kent Elms junction.

Since work at the junction was completed, the council claims that the number of vehicles using Oakwood Avenue has reduced by 500 cars a day and very few are speeding on the 30mph road.

Mr Aylen criticised the report for failing to mention that there had been six accidents on the road between 2018 and 2019 and campaigner Tony Smee, 70, said the council’s data does not provide an accurate picture of what is happening as it is just “a snapshot of a single period”.

“The data shows there has been no accidents in past year but there is going to be,” said Mr Smee.

“If someone died in an accident on this road I would go to inquest and table everything that has gone on here, every document I have on file. I would say we gave them a chance to do something but they didn’t do it.”

Despite the council agreeing to investigate options, Mr Smee said the issue has gone on for so long he and many other residents have lost hope anything will be done.

“I went to houses at the weekend and ask if they would go to the meeting and they just said what is the point,” he continued.

“This is a chance for the council to do something right. Even if they just tried it, if it was temporary and they blocked off the road to see what happens. If it doesn’t work, they can rethink it but at least give it a try.

“There are 150 people in Oakwood and they are totally disillusioned.”


Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter