Angela and Mark
Angela & Mark (Image copyright:

At the chamber we pride ourselves on helping our members when they need us; after all, with over 70 businesses in the chamber we have a wealth of experience to call on.

So, when we were contacted on Friday (15th July) by one of our members asking for help, we were only too pleased to offer support.

Mark and Angela Mascar contacted us about a serious safety issue. Mark and Angela run the Empire Diner on the northbound A12 at Rivenhall and since opening have seen cars braking hard after seeing their entrance late or worse still, reversing back to get into the site.

To resolve this and prevent accidents, they contacted the highways department who advised them that, as they did not have HGV access they did not qualify for signs so there was nothing they could do. They did advise that they could put up their own signage as long as it met strict criteria.

Mark and Angela were so worried about this that they paid for signage that met the regulatory standards and erected them in accordance with the guidance provided by the Highways Agency. This signage was up for a period of 1 week and during this time no incidents were noted. Mark and Angela therefore thought that these signs pre-warning of the entrance where doing a great job.

On Wednesday, a week after they were erected, Amey (the contractors who look after signage) took the signs down without contacting the Diner and have yet to returned them. Within 24 hours of their removal, there was an accident on that stretch of the A12, which was due to a driver braking suddenly and stated that they were looking for the turning to the restaurant; fortunately no one was hurt.

Mark and Angela have therefore asked us if we could help as they were at their wits end.

We have since contacted Highways Agency, who insist they would escalate the issue as urgent and expect it to be actioned within 15 days. Sadly this is not what we consider urgent!

So, not leaving it there, we have also contacted Essex Police to see if they can do anything to help. We have also been in contact with Priti Patel’s office in Westminster to ask her for help pushing this matter.

This issue is still ongoing, but we are working hard to get an urgent resolution; please watch this space for further updates.

This is part our the Chamber’s onging commitment to members by being a voice for Witham. If you are a member and have something you would like us to consider helping with, plese email [email protected], or why not attend our monthly chamber meeting.