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Bentwaters: Development could create traffic nightmare on road network

PUBLISHED: 12:45 21 July 2014

Bentwaters

Bentwaters

Villagers fear a huge increase in traffic could be on the cards if a new blueprint for the former Bentwaters base is approved – making their lives a nightmare.

Flying has been the main issue for most people as the future of the former USAF Cold War base has come under the microscope, but some parish councillors and residents fear the activity on the ground could have just as big an impact on local life.

Planners are being asked to approve uses for nearly 200 buildings at the 936-acre site to bring new business and create new jobs.

These could include a wide variety of uses, including agricultural, storage and distribution, and many are already existing businesses but their permissions need to be regularised.

Bentwaters Parks and Stansall Properties Ltd propose strict limits of 690,000 vehicles a year using the site – including 45,000 lorries – but Eyke Parish Council says the road network is “totally inadequate”.

The council said: “What is being proposed will have a major impact which will irrevocably change the tranquility of the area for ever.

“When the owners/developers held Golf GTI days, they generated literally thousands of vehicles, which backed up from the A12 and through the village of Eyke – some four miles of stationary traffic – as you can imagine this caused total mayhem.

“An air show will subject this village to thousands of additional vehicles on an already totally inadequate road structure.

“Part of the village does not have footpaths and pedestrians have to walk in the road with the traffic.

“With the development of Rendlesham and the irregular operations at Bentwaters Parks, the quality of life for the villagers of Eyke has been greatly diminished.

“We accept that it is a changing world, but must it be so brutal in destroying the tranquility of this area?”

Traffic consultants say their surveys show 70% of Bentwaters traffic goes through Eyke, around 6,700 vehicles per day.

The applicant were willing to make a financial contribution toward traffic calming, such as village gateways and speed indicator devices.

Steven Bainbridge, of Evolution Town Planning, agents for the applicants, said not all traffic to and from the base would go through Eyke.

He said: “The A1152 through Eyke is identified by the Suffolk County Council as part of the Suffolk Lorry Route Network. This road serves Rendlesham and on to Tunstall, Snape and Snape Maltings.”

Mr Bainbridge said the county highways department was happy with the traffic flow statistics, and there had been no material increase in daily vehicle flows at the site over a nearly four year period.

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