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Thursday June 24 2010

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College campaign celebrates victory

ESSEX County Council (ECC) has bowed to pressure from staff and students at Harlow College and has committed itself to improving the pedestrian crossing on Velizy Avenue.
The Herald reported two weeks ago that staff and students had grown increasingly concerned for their safety when crossing the road, identifying a number of problems with the current crossing. However, following meetings between Harlow MP Rob Halfon and ECC, it has been confirmed that upgrades to the crossing will be carried out, hopefully in time for the start of the new term in September. Mr Halfon said: I congratulate the students and staff at the college for their campaign and for alerting me to this issue. I have been working hard with ECC to make progress and Im very glad that this has been achieved. I appreciate the effort ECC have made to try and improve the crossing for students, he added. The upgrades will include the installation of a Toucan crossing, which is fitted with a number of infra-red detectors and is wider than a normal crossing to allow cyclists


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Courts facing closure threat
HARLOW Magistrates and County Courts could close, if new proposals from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) get the go ahead. Ministers announced yesterday (Wednesday) proposals to modernise and improve the use of courts in England and Wales. The MoJ said the consultations seek to enable Her Majestys Court Service (HMCS) to better provide vital services for local communities. The MoJ is asking for views on whether to close 103 magistrates and 54 county courts that are underused and inadequate. HMCS currently operates out of 530 courts, some of which, it claims, do not fit the needs of modern communities. Their number and location does not reflect recent changes in population, workload or transport and communication links over the many years since they were originally opened. Views are now invited on how they can improve the services courts provide. If implemented, running cost savings of around 15.3 million per year could be achieved along with a saving of 21.5 million on maintenance costs that could be avoided. There will also be savings for other justice agencies by focusing their attendance at a single location n a community. Courts Minister Jonathan Djanogly said: When public finances are under pressure, it is vital to eliminate waste and reduce costs. The Lord Chancellor and I are keen to hear the views of everyone with an interest in local justice arrangements. He will take all views into account before making any decision on which courts ought to be closed and when.

and pedestrians to cross simultaneously. One sensor will detect whether people are waiting to cross after the button has been pressed. If they have moved off before the lights change the sequence will be cancelled enabling traffic to continue unhindered. The sensors can also detect pedestrian movement in the centre of the road so that if there are slow moving pedestrians still crossing, the pedestrian time is increased and the traffic signal remains on red to allow them to cross safely. The new crossing will be fully accessible for people with disabilities through tactile paving, flush kerbs, rotating cones underneath push buttons, and where applicable, audible bleepers. A spokesperson for ECC said: Essex County Council will be installing a Toucan crossing on Velizy Avenue this year. The aim of this is to increase the safety of pedestrians in the area. ECC will also be looking to cut back foliage in the area as soon as possible to improve sight-lines along

Campaigners at the crossing; Pauline Leggett (head of student support); Simone Webb (student union secretary); Barry Hunt (editor Harlow Herald); Brigit Jaansoo (student council); Colin Hindmarch (principal, Picture: MICHAEL BOYTON Harlow College); Robert Halfon MP the road and anti-skid surfacing was also laid on the approach to the crossing when the road was resurfaced last year. College principal Colin Hindmarch has expressed his joy at the announcement. He said: I am delighted that this campaign, led by Robert Halfon MP and the Harlow Herald, appears to have seen such rapid results, thank you. Thank you to everyone who has supported us on this important issue. l See letters page 14

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