Braintree/Bocking 93, Essex

Braintree/Bocking 93 came up for closure at our last byway meeting as Essex County Council (ECC) did not have the funding to repair it before the winter. However, after an offer to help with repairs from the Green Lane Association, the closure was knocked on the head. Ed (assistant rep) and myself met up with two of their highway engineers, and after walking the byway and discussing what was required, it was mutually agreed that they would allow the Green Lane Association to carry out the work. ECC would supply the materials needed to repair the surface, and the Green Lane Association had already agreed to pay for the plant required.

The date was set for the 21st September, and the call went out for volunteers. Contractors were booked. A temporary TRO was put in place for the time the work was planned. Basically we were ready for the day. Or so we thought. Two days before the day, the contractors self-loading dumper broke down and they were unable to supply a replacement, so Ed (being Ed), managed to find a contractor who could help us out at very short notice and we were ready again!

We were advised that the surface material to be supplied would be rolled stone, and it would be delivered and signed for by a highways guy on the Friday. We turned up on Saturday to find it was nothing of the sort! First off it wasn’t rolled stone. What we got was full of all sorts of rubbish, but hey-ho, we carried on anyway!

We had 10 volunteers, one digger and one self-loading dumper. Due to the material, and a track coming off the digger, we managed to get three quarters of the 1,575 metres of the byway repaired to a standard highways required.

We would like to say a massive thank you to the volunteers, RMR contractors, and to David of Treecology, who saved the day at the last minute, with his self-loading dumper.

It was a learning curve for both Ed and myself, as this was the first time we had taken a project on as involved as this, but stands us in good stead for the next one. The Highways Engineer, although not happy with the materials we were supplied with (and will be taking it up with the guy that signed for it), was more than happy in what we achieved. We plan to go back to finish the last quarter very soon.

Putting the effort in has proved to Highways we can do it and hopefully will lead to them asking us to assist in keeping byways open in the future.

It has well been worthwhile and would say to any other of our reps go for it – you won’t know what you can do till you try!

Rob Tongue, Essex Rep