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Parking restrictions will be introduced in one of the worst rat-runs in the borough despite fears it could encouraging speeding.

Southend Council is introducing a raft of road safety improvements across the borough but vowed not to introduce them if a majority of residents objected.

Three out of five residents who responded to a consultation to restrict parking on one side of Crosby Road, Westcliff feared it would make it easier for motorists to go faster than ever.

The road is often gridlocked and the council believed installing staggered yellow lines on each side of the road to form a chicane would speed flow but still prevent speeding.

However, speaking at a recent traffic regulations working party committee meeting, Crosby Road resident Mr McCow?? said: “This order proposes to aid traffic flow on a residential road with known speeding issues. According to council statistics Crosby Road is amongst the ten worst roads for speeding in the borough. Over half of vehicles exceed the 30mph limit. Double parked vehicles are a small traffic calming measure but this proposal will remove them with no replacement.

“I do wonder if the officers concerned did their due diligence and whether the ward councillors who brought forward this order were aware of the relevant facts. With the statistics available the road should have been a red flag to all of them. The council is proposing to aid traffic flow on a short residential street used as a rat-run where half of the vehicles already break the speed limit. That is absurd and irrational. The council should be discouraging speeding traffic not facilitating its progress and raising speed.”

Another Crosby Road resident said the reason for the low response to the consultation was because the majority of residents had already taken part in a previous consultation to install parking restrictions. This scheme went ahead but had to be removed over a technical issue. Residents believed the lines would be reintroduced and were unaware a new scheme was being proposed.

Mr Hetherton? Said: “Crosby is one of the town's east-west rat-runs and traffic volumes can be heavy at busy times. When the eastbound traffic is heavy, traffic entering from Chalkwell Avenue has to wait and, although the yellow lines at the end of the road were extended a few years ago, the waiting queue can stretch back past the lights and into Chalkwell Avenue.

"We were aghast when we learned only from the Echo that the original recommendation supported by the majority of residents was not to go ahead after making our views clear and supporting restrictions in the first instance we were certainly unaware that we needed to go through the whole process again and this is shown by the poor response.”

Nigel Folkard, Conservative councillor for Chalkwell ward said: "Many felt they had made their views clear the first time around and were unaware of the need to comment again. This seems to be the reason for such as poor response. This is a much-needed scheme and will ease the flow of traffic in Crosby Road in a safe manner whilst have the minimum impact on parking within the road."

Councillors allowed the scheme to go ahead but with a review in six months.