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Southend Council ‘stalling on shared zone crossing points’
COUNCIL chiefs have been accused of stalling over plans for safe crossing points for pedestrians in Southend’s seafront shared space zone.
In January, chiefs announced they would follow the recommendations of an independent review, which called for informal walkways to be installed across Marine Parade.
But, five months on no changes have been made and campaigners have accused the council of trying to wriggle out of its promise.
A spokesman for protest group Skipp, which staged several demonstrations in Marine Parade last year, said: “This situation is unacceptable. By not implementing the recommendations of the report, which the council commissioned and accepted, it continues to negligently risk the lives of innocent people.”
The zone, where pedestrians, drivers and cyclists mix freely, is part of the £7.6million City Beach revamp. Complaints emerged shortly after the zone was finished in March last year. The Echo launched a campaign last summer calling for change after two children were knocked down in Marine Parade within six weeks. In September, the council commissioned the review, which argued for areas of coloured paving that clearly marked spots where pedestrians could cross. It did not support calls for formal pelican or zebra crossings.
Council bosses agreed to implement the changes as soon as possible.
However, Andy Lewis, the council’s corporate director for enterprise, tourism and the environment, said the process was not as “straightforward” as it might seem.
He said: “Implementing the agreed recommendations at City Beach will require further construction work in a very busy area.
“This work is currently in hand and we are looking at the best time for these measures to be implemented.
“It is worth noting that as we continue to monitor the scheme, especially low traffic speeds, it continues to perform well.”