September 15 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
A park and ride scheme catering for thousands of workers involved in the construction of a nuclear power plant is feared to make life a “nightmare” for nearby villagers who say traffic is already at “crisis point”.
Dozens of Wickham Market residents packed the village hall on Monday evening to voice concerns about EDF Energy’s plans affecting the village as part of the construction of Sizewell C.
The park and ride facility proposed for north of Wickham Market could ferry thousands of workers to and from the construction site to reduce car journeys.
Residents attending the meeting, however, raised fears that many of the workers travelling to it from the west would take the B1078 through Wickham Market High Street, which is already a significant traffic concern, instead of using the A12.
“It will be terrible,” said one resident. “We are at crisis point already – it will be a nightmare.”
Although EDF’s representative Tom McGarry assured the meeting that contractors would be directed to “stick to the A roads”, some residents were not convinced.
Colin Owen, who is chairman of Wickham Market Town Team, said after the meeting: “There was not a lot of hard facts to give people confidence that all of the issues were being exposed and there are clear and robust plans to deal with it.”
Mr Owen was also concerned the park and ride scheme would be one of the first of its kind and had not been properly tested.
Other residents questioned how shift patterns might pose traffic problems at peak times of the day and asked whether there would be 24-hour working on site. Mr McGarry conceded there were times when construction would be continuous and also admitted the park and ride may be active at times when neighbours “might not want it to be”.
However he stressed that the “consultative journey” being carried out with local communities would seek to address concerns.
Bryan Hall, who is Wickham Market’s district councillor, said after the meeting that he shared residents’ traffic concerns. “The problem is there are so many unknowns and so people are understandably fearful about what might happen,” he said.
An EDF spokesman said the company has planned sea and rail delivery to minimise construction traffic and a temporary accommodation campus near the site for workers to reduce car journeys.
“EDF Energy is committed to continuing to engage with the community on the Sizewell C project,” the spokesman added.
People interested in the project are invited to call the Sizewell C information office on 01728 833891 or to visit from 9.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday.