CONCERNED councillors are calling on highways bosses to take action to make flood-prone roads less dangerous this winter.

Fears have been raised over the safety of Sloe Hill, between Halstead and Gosfield, and Foxborough Hills in Sible Hedingham.

The unlit roads are both prone to flooding, which can lead to treacherous ice when it freezes. There are also blind bends and potholes.

Now councillors are appealing to Essex County Council to take action before anyone is hurt.

The call is being led by Hedingham councillor Jo Beavis and Halstead councillor Jackie Pell. Mrs Beavis has written to Essex County Council calling for road lighting, flood warning signs, suitable gritting during winter and a resolution to the flooding.

She said: “Sloe Hill has been approved for a surface water alleviation scheme due to commence in 2021.

“The area has been monitored due to regular flooding and bank erosion. Some works here have been carried out to clear the drains and to thin the hedge line that sits on the eroding bank.

“The flood area is at the top of Sloe Hill on a dangerous blind bend. Huge tree roots look like they will fall into the road soon.

“Foxborough Hills flood area now has many deep potholes adding to the seriousness of this issue.

“It is a rural road, extremely dark at night and has been covered in grit and mud in the flood area.”

She added: “I am concerned at the length of time being taken to sufficiently resolve the extreme flooding at both these locations whilst longer-term solutions are found. I am further concerned that both these areas provide the conditions for road accidents to happen.

Mrs Pell said: “I’ve been complaining about Sloe Hill for a long long time. There have been lots of complaints and it isn’t acceptable.

“I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Essex Highways is not fit for purpose.

“You just have to ask residents and they’ll tell you how bad it is. I’ve seen so many correspondents and they’re not happy at all.

“Something has got to be done. They have seen nothing from highways.

“That flooding is there nearly all of the time now. There’s been a lack of maintenance and the problem gets exacerbated. This has got to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

An Essex Highways spokesman said: “At Sloe Hill, Halstead, a drainage crew attended to clear the drains in June last year and will return to jet and clear the drains again this week.

“There are flood warning signs at the site. The area is regularly inspected and due for another check shortly.

“Sloe Hill is likely to be prioritised for a Surface Water Alleviation Scheme in the coming financial year. This work will enable a more comprehensive approach, including stabilising the banks, verges and ditches along some sections.

“At Foxborough Hill, our drainage crew attended in November and on December 23 to pump water into a tanker and remove it. They also cleaned and jetted the drains and pipes, tracing the water across the road to a buried drainage chamber.

“We are determined to resolve these continuing issues and we’re liaising with the landowners at the site to get the ditches cleared and an earth bund removed to enable the drains to function properly. The continuing pandemic restrictions are slowing up some of this work, but we will persist. Flood warning signs are on site.

“The county councillor for Foxborough Hill, David Finch, is actively involved in working to find the most effective solutions here.”