The Town Mayor, Will Breare-Hall, received a response today to his letter requesting compensation for Epping Market Traders who will lose business due to the cancellation of the Town Market on July 7th:
Essex County Council (ECC) recognises the Tour de France (TdF) event will have to implement road closures to ensure the race can happen safely across the Essex route. This unfortunately will cause disruption to Epping Town Council’s Monday market, which we have been advised by crowd and traffic management experts, means it will not be safe for the market to operate that day. Although this major event is for one day only, we are working in partnership with Epping Forest District Council to identify if there is a viable solution for the market for that day.
Unfortunately, compensation is not available for the whole of the three stages of the event. The event is funded by budget from central government and managed by the TdFHub, a government limited company. ECC is not the lead organiser responsible for the event. However, we are working closely with key partners including Yorkshire, Cambridge and TDF Hub 2014 to successfully deliver this major sporting event and minimise disruption to residents and businesses wherever possible. The wider benefits of the event include expecting many spectators viewing this once in a lifetime opportunity to see the world class cyclists which we hope will inspire a new generation of people to be more active
We do not have more information about the reference to a “viable solution for the market” as yet, though we are meeting with colleagues from the District Council early next week. The only possible location for the market that has not already been considered would be the Cottis Lane Car Park, which we have understood was to be open as normal on the day of the race.
The letter also contained some information about the street furniture that is being installed in Epping High Street in May:
With regard to your question regarding street furniture I have spoken with ECC highway officers and the 5 pairs of traffic islands in Epping will be replaced with permanent bolt down islands that can be removed for the Tour de France sprint stage and any event in the future that Epping may hold that requires their removal.
The islands are aesthetically pleasing and are in a granite finish to complement the street scene of Epping. The current islands are in a poor state of repair with varying types of solar and normal electrically powered bollards which are old and require a great deal of maintenance. The new islands will have modern solar powered “keep left” signs with no electrical connection, so are greener, easier and cheaper to maintain.
Cllr Ann Naylor CC
We have been delighted with the response from the public following Council’s decision earlier in the year to see if the land at Stonards Hill known as Old Pastures or “EPP B” in the Local Plan could be registered as a Village Green under the Commons Act 2006.
Thanks in large part to the members of the Epping Society, whose members put in a lot of effort to raise awareness of the Campaign, we now have over 170 completed questionnaires from residents which we are now collating and will form the evidence base for our application to the County Council under the Commons Act 2006.
Many thanks to all residents who took the time to complete the questionnaires. We will post further updates here about how things progress. We will not be collecting any further evidence from residents at this stage, so the link to the questionnaire has been removed.
The Town Council has decided to undertake a number of initiatives at it’s meeting on Tuesday designed to improve the character and amenity of the Town for residents and visitors alike.
Blue Plaque Scheme
The Council is looking at introducing a Blue Plaque Scheme in the Town to recognise important people who have lived here in Epping over the centuries and important places and events in the Town’s history.
There are currently only two blue plaques in the Town, one dedicated to Lucien Pissarro at 44 Hemnall Street, (who we covered in last month’s Talk About Epping) and the other to Henry Doubleday in Buttercross Lane that was put up by the Epping Urban District Council, predecessor to the Town Council.
Initially, the Council are looking at memorial plaques for Sir William Addison and former Prime Minister and Town MP Winston Churchill. However, we would be delighted to hear from residents about who or where from the Town’s past should be recognised in this way.
We are also going to contact the County Council to see if they will agree to let us replace the ugly traffic sign on the Town Green (pictured above) with a period fingerpost that would fit much better with the historic setting. We will let you know how we get on.
Still on the subject of signs, we want to try and provide a tourist information board for visitors arriving by tube by the Station. This is something which has been clearly lacking for many years – visitors get off the train and have no idea where the Town, the Forest, the Essex Way or anything else is – If TfL are willing to let us put an information map up, this will hopefully change.
Lastly, the Town Council has decided to turn around one of the benches on the Town Green so it faces into the Green and not out at the road.
This may not seem like a big issue perhaps, but you would be amazed how many times it is raised by residents who want to sit for a moment on the Green and enjoy the open space rather than the traffic around Hemnall Street.
As most residents will be aware (unless you have been hiding from all media coverage, in which case I congratulate you for finding your way here) there will be a mini-sprint stage of the Tour de France on 7th July that has it’s climax (and the finish line!) at the Plaza (by the water fountain) in the High Street.
Epping is expected to have several thousand spectators watching the sprint in the market place and along the Town Greens – it promises to be an exciting and memorable day for the whole town, but it will not be without disruption- the Town Council is able to provide some more information about the arrangements on the day:
- North Weald Market will take place as usual on Saturday 5th July
- Epping Town Show will take place on Sunday 6th July – there should be no disruption caused by the Tour that will affect it.
- As was announced last week, the Monday market is cancelled on 7th July. The Town Council has made a request to Epping Forest District Council that no street trading licences be issued on the day so as not to further disadvantage market traders and we are pleased to report that the District Council have granted this request. We have also asked Essex County Council to consider deploying Trading Standards on the day to deal with any sellers of counterfeit Tour memorabilia that may target Epping for the event.
- Road Closures – The entire route was originally going to be closed from 7.30 in the morning on July 7th. Thanks to lobbying from the District Council, organisers have agreed to push that time back to 9am along the route south of the Talbot roundabout, which will lessen the disruption for Epping to some degree. The roads are not going to re-open until 5 pm, however. There will be much more detail about the closures and diversion routes coming in the next couple of months.
- Although the High Street closed to all traffic, there will be 5 crossing points for pedestrians open for the majority of the day to allow movement around the Town. These will obviously be closed when the caravan of the race comes through.
- The organisers will be providing toilet facilities for spectators in Epping, exact numbers and location to be confirmed.
- There are no plans for “big screens” in Epping.
- The District Council is looking into provision of cycle storage in Epping, and the possibility of a “Park and Walk” scheme for people who want to see the Tour in North Weald. Access to North Weald Airfield will be possible on the day via J7 and the A414. The A414 will be closed between the Rayley Lane roundabout and the Talbot, however.
- Schools – each school will make its own decision as to whether or not to open on the day. The Town Council will publicise this when it has the information.
- Essex County Council are maintaining an FAQ for residents and visitors concerning the Tour. It can be found at http://www.essex.gov.uk/Pages/Tour-de-France.aspx
Please share your views/ thoughts about the visit of the World’s largest free spectator sporting event!