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POSSIBLE INSTALLATION OF POSTS ON THE GRASS VERGE ALONG THE FRONTAGE OF THE BUDGET CAR COMPANY SITE IN THE STREET, SEDLESCOMBE

INTRODUCTION

In July 2010, East Sussex County Council (ESCC) informed the Parish Council (SPC) that it would be agreeable to granting SPC a licence to place a series of posts on the highway verge along the frontage of Budget Cars. The work would have to be undertaken by ESCC but paid for by SPC. The cost would be either £2,000 for 20 plastic reflective posts or about £3,000 for oak posts with reflectors. Following a SPC meeting in August, a strong objection was made to ESCC that it was trying to pass its responsibility on to SPC.

 

In addition, according to ESCC, the actual width of the grass verge should be 1.5 metres at the end by the river and almost 2 metres at the end by the Bridge Garage. Over the years, the car sales lot had been allowed to creep on to highway land. SPC asked ESCC to rectify this.

 

CURRENT SITUATION

Mostly, the cars on the approved area for car sales have now been moved back, usually leaving a reasonable width of grass verge although an accurate measurement has not been made by SPC. Cars are still being driven across the grass verge to access the B2244 from the sales lot (see photograph below taken on 25/01/11). This causes a danger for passing traffic, particularly near to the river bridge where visibility is restricted as well as obstruction of the road, made worse by parked cars opposite the car lot.

 

Budget Cars Reversing

 

Car reversing from B2244 on to car lot across the grass verge on 25 January 2011

 

CORRESPONDENCE WITH ESCC (in brief)

In September 2010, SPC was informed by ESCC that obstruction of the free flow of traffic or causing a potential danger to other road users were Police issues and not something that ESCC could enforce as there are no statutory highways legislation that could prevent the problem. The idea of SPC paying for installation of plastic or wooden posts was again proposed.

 

CORRESPONDENCE WITH DAN RUSSELL - POLICE SERGEANT BATTLE NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICING TEAM

On 26/01/11, Sergeant Russell wrote to SPC as follows:

  • "In relation to the area around Budget Cars. If the vehicle is parked on the road, not causing an obstruction, there is no enforcement we can do. An obstruction will not be caused, even if it prevents 2-way traffic."

ESCC'S OFFER

On 10/02/11, a further message was received from ESCC, this time from the Assistant Director Operations of Transport & Environment. ESCC's lack of legal powers to do anything to stop vehicles being driven across the grass verge to access private property was again cited. Although ESCC could serve a notice on the owner to build a proper vehicle access, the best idea according to the Assistant Director would be to have some posts installed to physically stop cars accessing the road/site. This time, "as a gesture of goodwill", ESCC was prepared to licence and fund some plastic black and white bollards (1300mm high) in this location. However, given the rural setting, it was suggested that maybe SPC would wish to pay the additional cost of timber posts rather than plastic. The difference in cost is £1,000 or £1.50 from each Band D Council Taxpayer. ESCC does not erect fences and cannot use smaller posts.

 

Allegrini verge postsAllegrini verge posts

Allegrini plastic verge posts 1300mm high

 

ESCC has confirmed that no special permissions are needed, despite the site being within the Sedlescombe Conservation Area.

 

SPC BUDGET

As the precept application has already been submitted, SPC could only pay the £1,000 to have wooden rather than plastic posts if savings could be found in the 2010/11 or 2011/12 budgets. ESCC has confirmed that they do not have to spend the £2,000 on the posts this financial year but could, if SPC so desired, wait until the subject has been discussed at the Annual Parish Assembly on 26/04/11.

 

DRAFT RESOLUTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION ON 08/03/11

  1. That, in the interests of the safety of drivers using the B2244, SPC accepts ESCC's offer to licence and fund the installation of 20 plastic verge posts on the highway verge in front of the Budget Car Company site in The Street, Sedlescombe in order to stop vehicles driving over the kerb and verge onto or off the car lot site.

  2. That, in the interests of the safety of drivers using the B2244, SPC accepts ESCC's offer to licence and partially-fund the installation of 20 wooden verge posts with reflectors on the highway verge in front of the Budget Car Company site in The Street, Sedlescombe and that SPC will pay £1,000 towards the work, if sufficient savings can be found in the budget. Finance Committee to consider on 29/03/11. If the funds cannot be found, ESCC's offer to install plastic posts will be accepted instead.

  3. That, in the interests of the safety of drivers using the B2244, SPC accepts ESCC's offer to licence and partially-fund the installation of 20 wooden verge posts with reflectors on the highway verge in front of the Budget Car Company site in The Street, Sedlescombe and that SPC will pay £1,000 towards the work, if sufficient savings can be found in the budget. Finance Committee to consider on 29/03/11. If the SPC funds cannot be found, a fund will be started locally to raise £1,000 as SPC's contribution towards wooden posts.

  4. That, no decision should be made by SPC regarding installation of 20 plastic or wooden verge posts on the highway verge in front of the Budget Car Company site in The Street, Sedlescombe until the matter has been considered at the Annual Assembly of the Parish Meeting on 26/04/11.

Mrs P Raymond
Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer, Sedlescombe Parish Council
01424 870508, sedlescombe@freezone.co.uk, www.sedlescombe.org.uk