There have been on-going concerns raised by many residents during recent months about safe and appropriate foot passage off of the Channels development. Essex County Councillor John Aldridge has raised the issue with the City Council as a result of being contacted by both the Community Group and individual residents and the issue has also been followed up recently directly with one of our City Councillors.
A response has been received from the City Council which addresses two major concerns; (a) Pedestrian access from the Channels development to the shop at the Shell Petrol Filling Station, Costa Coffee etc. on Essex Regiment Way and (b) Pedestrian and cycle access to the Beaulieu development and its facilities.
The response has been summarised below for information however it does not address timescales, neither does it address the issue of negotiating the muddy unlit bridle path that links to the front on Beaulieu on the Essex Regiment Way side.
So, some good news with some clarification still required 🙂
Access to Retail Units on ERW
Channels Drive (the RDR) has been designed without footpaths and cyclepaths on highway safety grounds; this is due to the function of the route linking the Boreham Interchange with Essex Regiment Way and the volume of traffic it will eventually carry, once fully open.
The outline planning permission for the Channels development pre-dates the grant of planning permission for the petrol filling station and shop, Costa Coffee and McDonalds; consequently, the need for any footpath connection to this part of the Mid Essex Gravels site could not have been anticipated when the planning permission for Channels was granted.
The Council has recognised that several residents of the Channels development have been accessing the retail units by foot, walking along the grass verges to Channels Drive; clearly the road was not designed to accommodate this practice, nor is it something they wish to see continue in the future, particularly when the RDR is fully open.
The Council has been working with the Channels developer and their landscape architects on the layout and design of the public open spaces throughout the development and have now approved the details. As noted in a previous update there will be a footpath through the Local Park (proposed to the east of the Shell Garage), to address the issues which are occurring presently; this path will connect with a future controlled pedestrian crossing off Albatross Way (adjacent to the Croudace development) and tie in with an existing footpath opposite the Costa Coffee.
Residents will then be able to access the Shell shop, Costa Coffee and McDonalds, by using controlled crossing points on Channels Drive and Albatross Way and a path through the future Local Park. The new path, will be provided away from Channels Drive so that residents are not walking close to the road.
Access to Beaulieu Facilities
There are two footpath/cycle connections provided from Beaulieu, linking with two existing footpath/cyclepaths within Channels Phase 2 (off Niblick Green). The primary strategic footpath/cyclepath will be hard surfaced and lit whilst the other will have a gravel surface which will not be lit for ecological reasons although there will naturally be some light splay from the future adjacent residential parcels.
The North-South Greenway route provides a connection to the Channels development, allows all residents access to two areas of equipped play space at Beaulieu (nearing completion) and southwards to the neighbourhood centre and other facilities at Beaulieu.