Residents say no to South Woodford rat runs

�Police and residents in South Woodford joined forces on Saturday to let motorists know their roads should not be used as a rat-run.

Chelmsford Road, Derby Road, Fullers Road and Empress Avenue are frequently used by drivers taking short-cuts and ignoring the access-only restrictions.

It’s a problem that goes back 35 years, according to Cllr Hugh Cleaver, a Liberal Democrat who represents Church End ward, but no solution has yet been found.

The introduction of CCTV cameras has been one option considered by the council.

Frank Cruder, chairman of Chelmsford Road and Derby Road Neighbourhood Watch, recorded traffic figures in Chelmsford Road on Saturday while Safer Neighbourhoods officers, led by Sgt David Somerville, handed out leaflets to motorists explaining the rules.

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Mr Cruder said: “We’re trying to teach people that it’s not a rat run, it’s a residents’ street.

“It’s become more like a high street at times during rush hour. We get a lot of lorries coming down the road and we have bumps in the road. When they go over them, they don’t slow down and our houses shake.”

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Cllr Cleaver said: “There have been a few problems in terms of altercations with people trying to get through when there’s traffic coming the other way.”

Mr Cruder found 222 vehicles using the road for through access to Woodford New Road or High Road in just one hour on Saturday.

He plans to repeat the survey on a weekday morning when, he predicts, the figures will be even higher.

A Redbridge Council spokesman said moving traffic offences could only be enforced by using certified CCTV vehicles and captured video footage.

Joint police-council operations are being considered.

The council spokesman said an existing sign on Woodford New Road advising drivers of the regulations would be moved nearer to the Chelmsford Road junction and two new signs would go up near the Fullers Road and Empress Avenue junctions.

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