Information, discussion and news
Ford End has a long history of campaigns to improve the safety and well-being of road users, pedestrians and residents in the village, with particular regard to the speed, volume and weight of vehicles using the B1008 (formerly the A130) Main Road (incl. Sandon Hill) through the village.
Dangerous bends, high speed approaches, narrow and intermittent pavements and the location of the village school, all exacerbate the fundamental problems of heavy lorries and speeding vehicles using the vehicles as a preferred short cut between the A12/Chelmsford and the M11/Stansted Airport.
All too frequent accidents, spillages and regrettably at least one fatality in the last 25 years, have not yet justified aggressive traffic calming, other than the successful reduction in speed limit from 40 to 30mph, and the declassification from A130 to B1008, with the associated recommended routing for lorries around the A131 Braintree/Notley bypass.
A small team of hard-working residents involved with the Village Design Statement, with the support of parish councillors, have also led engagement with local authorities, in an attempt to get various improvement made to the road infrastructure in the village, but so far with limited success.
Approach gateways have created a visible reminder of the approaching village, digital speed indicators and flashing warning signs for the worst bends in the village, and an improved road surface, have made a small difference. Also, the creation of a rear pedestrian entrance to the village primary school, and improved parking in the adjacent recreation ground, have greatly reduced the danger for many primary school children, and parents, with prams and toddlers, accompanying their children to school. But for parents, children and the elderly that need to cross the main road in their daily routines, the situation is still far from safe. Lorries regularly mount the pavement on narrow sections and tight bends, when passing each other, to avoid clashing wing mirrors, sometimes ignorant of pedestrians who have been known to throw themselves into hedges to avoid serious injury. Lorries have shed loads, cars and trucks have slid off the road onto verges, into ditches, through hedges and overturned or destroyed safety barriers outside the school and pre-school/village hall.
The following is a collection of anecdotes and pictures relating to known accidents that have occurred in the last 20-25 years in and approaching Ford End:
A serious head-on collision, outside the primary school, closed the road for several hours in April 2018.
And a series of single-vehicle incidents at Stumps Cross, just south-east of Ford End in 2018/19, resulted in the road being re-surfaced and a new 40mph limit imposed from before the bend, approaching the village.
Over the years, there have been a number of shed loads from lorries travelling through Ford End, often too fast for the bends through the village, probably combined with insecure loads.
This driver possibly thought that a few drinks might improve his auto-acrobatics. He managed to get away without any significant injury, but did a runner down towards Hill Farm. The car was registered in his Dad’s name, so when the police called him up, he came to the scene of the accident, called his son’s mobile and convinced him to come out of hiding before the K-9 unit arrived with the dogs. Needless to say, he was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.
This unfortunate truck lost control on the way into the village, and managed to take out the village sign near the phone box. Luckily, nothing was coming the other way, and some friendly locals helped push him out of trouble.