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Developer ‘extremely optimistic’ long-running Suffolk road closure will complete a month ahead of schedule

PUBLISHED: 08:01 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:47 14 February 2018

Woods Lane is hoped to open sooner than first scheduled. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Woods Lane is hoped to open sooner than first scheduled. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Extended working hours are hoped to have reduced a long-running and much opposed road closure in east Suffolk by nearly a month.

Bloor Homes said it was “extremely optimistic” phase two of the Woods Lane closure, connected to its Longwood Fields development, could be brought forward to “mid-March”.

The closure had originally been scheduled to run from January 8-April 13, however after the first phase in November prompted significant opposition, Bloor agreed to consult with residents about the possibility of extended working hours.

People living in Melton and Woodbridge, where much of the traffic was diverted, as well as the many motorists who drive through the area each day, had complained of “Carmageddon” with longer journey times, road accidents and stretches of the A12 becoming “like a carpark”.

Businesses had also claimed to have been hit hard by the closure.

Bloor’s consultation found 64% of respondents favoured extending working hours, which resulted in a change to 7.30am-8pm on weekdays and 7.30am-4pm on weekends. The 24-hour option was deemed “no longer viable”, however, in recognition of the 29% of respondents who said they did not want night time working.

News that the closure was expected to be shorter than first envisaged was welcome in Melton – although recently some questioned whether the anticipated improvements were likely to materialise.

One resident, speaking anonymously, said they had heard it was “only a day or two” ahead of schedule.

In a statement issued this week, however, Bloor said: “Following the public consultation and the extended working hours, Bloor Homes is extremely optimistic that, subject to normal caveats for this nature of work, the end date for the road closure could now be brought forward to mid-March.”

Bloor said it had also asked Suffolk County Council’s highways department to allow single lane traffic on Woods Lane but had been refused.

“Since the necessary closure of Woods Lane, Bloor Homes would like to highlight the fact that all local businesses both in Melton and Woodbridge remain open and continue to trade,” the statement added.

“Bloor Homes is aware of the disruption the closure has caused to these businesses.”

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused during the closure of Woods Lane and we hope that the new homes in Melton will bring additional income streams from the new residents to the local business community.”

Bloor said it has paid £450,000 in Community Infrastructure Levy funding, which will be followed by a further £1,650,000 during the development.

A man arrested after reportedly being armed with a gun and allegedly holding a young woman against her will at a house in Ipswich this morning has been released under investigation, pending further enquiries, police have said.

Police searching for missing Kesgrave man Paul Moore, who has not been seen for almost three weeks, have made an arrest.

Three people are due to appear in court on Monday after an elderly woman had her handbag stolen in Felixstowe town centre on Saturday afternoon.

With temperatures due to plunge and three days of snow warnings, calls are being made for neighbours to look out for the more vulnerable people in their communities.

Widespread snow has been forecast for Suffolk and Essex next week, starting on Monday morning. Find out here if your local school in Suffolk or Essex has been forced to close fully or partially on Monday.

Meet Ally – a devoted guide dog who is being forced to retire early after she was attacked six times in Suffolk.

Emergency services were called to a two-vehicle crash at a busy junction in Ipswich on Sunday night.

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