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‘Draconian’ plan to close Upminster road to fight fly-tipping deferred by Havering councillors

PUBLISHED: 15:30 06 September 2017

Residents started a campaign to close Sunnings Lane, Upminster, after the road was blocked in November.

Residents started a campaign to close Sunnings Lane, Upminster, after the road was blocked in November.

Archant

Plans to close two Upminster roads that are renowned fly-tipping hot spots were only half successful at a meeting of the council’s highways committee on Tuesday night.

A scheme to close Sunnings Lane to vehicle traffic was voted through, but plans to also close Little Gerpins Lane were deferred after councillors discussed a possible experimental closure instead.

A consultation on the plans closed in August, with residents fully backing the Sunnings Lane proposals, but largely disagreeing with the plans for Little Gerpins Lane.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, a representative from the Forestry Commission, who own a stretch of land to the north of the road, expressed their concerns that a staggered road closure half way up Little Gerpins Lane would lead to more fly-tipping on their land.

Councillor David Durant commended the council for “trying to design out a local problem” but said any closures should be reversible in case fly-tipping simply became worse elsewhere in the borough after the closure.

He said: “A road closure, to my mind, wherever it happens, is draconian because you’re blocking up a right of way, and I agree that, if we are going to block off a road, it ought to be at the entrance and exit of that road, not half way in.

“But my main concern is that always in the past with road closures we have had them on an experimental basis, because with something like this there are always unforeseen consequences.”

A Havering Council officer explained that in this case a reversible closure would cost a similar amount to a permanent one.

He also revealed that the southern end of Little Gerpins Lane could not be entirely cut off as a farmer used part of the road to access his land.

He told the meeting: “What you see tonight is what you get chairman, we have looked at the problem and we are trying to do the best we can with the resources we have got.”

Cllr Durant’s motion to defer any decision until the possibility of an experimental closure was looked at was passed by nine votes to two.

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