The highways enforcement team at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has been cracking down on residents and developers causing obstruction or damage to the public highway to provide the City with better and safer roads and pavements.
The new team is made up of experienced enforcement officers who respond to reports received of obstructions or damage caused to roads and pavements and speak with concerned residents and businesses.
Obstruction or damage could include damage caused by major or minor building developments where trucks and vans have parked on verges and pavements, vehicles crossing the pavement without an appropriately constructed access, or overhanging trees and bushes causing obstruction for pedestrians.
The team will always seek to engage with and educate those responsible in the first instance, but should they fail to comply, the team will seek formal enforcement, which could come in a variety of forms, from a warning, up to a fixed penalty notice, and in severe cases, prosecution may be sought.
Since commencement, the team has actively handed out over 600 enforcement letters, with approximately thirty percent complying immediately and officers following up the remaining letters, which has resulted in various outcomes, including overhanging hedges being reduced to provide more space on the footway and in another case, a property was recharged due to the damage caused to the footway by development works following engagement and education by the team.
Cllr Steven Wakefield, cabinet member for transport, asset management and inward investment, said: “The highways enforcement team provides a vital resource for the council in creating safer roads and pavements for residents and road users.
“The team work proactively with residents and developers to reduce the costs facing the council for the costly repairs that the authority has had to fund unnecessarily. Our officers are out patrolling the City every week to find any issues, but we need our residents to help us continue this successful work by reporting any issues to the highways department.
“Engagement and education is a key focus for the team, as they look to help the City achieve the goal of Southend being better connected through our road system. It is the aspiration to ensure the City’s roads and pavements are safe, and to encourage residents to walk and cycle more, providing a safer environment for all to utilise, so it is vital that those responsible for causing damage are held to account.”