Road safety and congestion are being made worse due to the expansion of residents’ parking in Saffron Walden, prompting local Labour activist Simon Trimnell to call for a review.
Simon Trimnell has pointed to residents parking in Catons Lane as an area of concern with parents voicing increasing alarm at parking problems as they drop their children off to school.
Said Simon, “I have spoken with parents with children at St Mary’s school who have called Little Walden Road a death trap while the road’s residents complain that it has caused parking problems as cars are displaced by residents parking on Catons Lane.
“More parking along Little Walden Road is disrupting sight lines for drivers as they turn onto the road, so they have to pull right out into a busy road with fast traffic. They have already seen one accident that they claim is caused by this problem. It’s also a road used by school children cross from Pound Walk to St Mary’s and it’s very difficult for parents to see around the parked vehicles.
“There needs to be a complete review of parking in Saffron Walden so that the needs of residents and visitors are met and our roads are safe. If residents parking is not working, then a better long-term solution should be found. Imposing a parking tax on some roads and displacing cars onto others is not working.”
Labour councillor Arthur Coote was elected deputy mayor of Saffron Walden for 2018/19 by nine votes to seven on Monday, coming ahead of Conservative councillor Sam Goddard.
Cllr Coote was elected in 2015 as Labour councillor for Saffron Walden Castle Ward, the first Labour councillor in the town for many years.
Although the only Labour councillor on the town council, his election is an acknowledgment by fellow councillors from other parties of his reputation as a hard-working councillor and a champion for residents’ concerns.
With Saffron Walden’s reported crime soaring 45%, the town’s Labour party spokesman Simon Trimnell has demanded local MP Kemi Badenoch deliver on her promise of more police resources.
In November, Ms Badenoch urged local people to report crime, saying: “the police numbers allocated to us are calculated based on the number of crimes reported. This means that by not reporting crime we are making it more likely that police resources will dwindle even further – and so the vicious cycle continues. The answer? Report every incident, no matter how minor.”
While crime is approaching record levels, the town’s police resources have shrunk to the lowest level ever with no promise of extra cash from the Police and Crime Commissioner. Instead, Uttlesford District Council and Saffron Walden town council are having to stump up the cash to pay for a PCSO, who has fewer powers compared to a normal police officer.
Saffron Walden town council and Uttlesford district council have agreed to pay for a PSCO on a 50/50 basis over two years. The total annual cost of funding a PSCO in the town is £37,652. Labour town councillor Arthur Coote supported funding for the PSCO, but Labour is also demanding additional funds for more policing to stem the crime wave.
Simon Trimnell said: “A PSCO is no replacement for a traditional bobby on the beat and it shouldn’t be up to Uttlesford and the parish council to fund policing, that’s not their role. It is better than nothing, but still a lot less than the level of policing we had years ago.
“Austerity policies are making Saffron Walden more unsafe with fewer police. On the doorstep, we’re hearing more and more reports from residents of burglary and nuisance crime. I’ve lived in the town all my life and I’ve never known it this bad.
“It all comes down to central government policy. Where is Kemi Badenoch? Is she getting more funding for more police in the town now she’s been promoted in the government?
“Labour is promising 10,000 new police officers on the streets of Britain, paid for by reversing cuts to Capital Gains Tax, to return our police service to its former strength. Only then will Saffron Walden stop the rapid rise in crime.”