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Farnham/Stratford St Andrew: Why was The Good Life’s Penelope Keith filming a documentary about the A12?

PUBLISHED: 09:01 02 September 2014 | UPDATED: 09:01 02 September 2014

Penelope Keith

Penelope Keith

Archant

Documentary-makers have visited communities in east Suffolk blighted by long-running traffic problems as part of a series into “vanishing villages” and the efforts of local people to overcome challenges.

Campaigners pressing for an A12 bypass to be built around Stratford St Andrew, Farnham, Little Glemham and Marlesford are hoping their appearance in the national television show might add new impetus to their demands.

With concerns growing about the impact of EDF Energy’s Sizewell C nuclear power plant on traffic in the villages, Debbi Tayler, a spokesman for the Four Villages Bypass Group, said the programme “could not have come at a better time”.

“It’s brilliant timing because we are in the middle of this conversation with Suffolk County Council about getting extra funding and trying to influence their negotiations with EDF,” she added. “The more public interest and support that we can get on this, the better.”

Mrs Tayler led the show’s presenter Penelope Keith, who played Margot Leadbetter in the Good Life, on a tour along the problem stretch of road last Thursday and said she was “horrified” by the state of traffic.

Other residents along the route also met with the production team to highlight the troubles they have faced on a daily basis.

Peter Norris, 52, who lives on the notorious Farnham bend in a house that has been repeatedly damaged by passing lorries, said he hoped the national publicity might inspire authorities to finally resolve the problem after more than 30 years.

“The campaign keeps going quiet so anything that can help bring it back to the forefront is to be welcomed,” he said.

And Judith Spatchett, 72, who lives in the final house in Farnham before the A12 leaves the village, also said she was pleased with the potential coverage.

“I just hope that it makes more people aware of the problems we face because it’s as if we are the forgotten village,” she said.

“It’s the same piece of road that horse and carts went up and down, but now it’s 40-tonne lorries and nothing has changed to keep pace.”

The programme is expected to air on More 4 sometime later this year.

Police have launched an attempted murder investigation after a 17-year-old boy was stabbed in Osborne Street, Colchester, in the early hours of this morning.

A new road, which ran almost £5m over budget, faces fresh controversy after it emerged a council employee involved in the project also completed work for the road’s developers through his private company.

A damning dossier compiled by a senior whistleblower from the region’s ambulance trust has claimed at least 40 patients died or were harmed due to delays over Christmas and New Year - including one person who froze to death.

Emergency services were called to an incident in Stoke-by-Nayland where a car overturned and ended up on its roof.

A Suffolk family had the BBC’s DIY SOS team spend 10 days at their property in November.

Witham MP Priti Patel is urging schools in the region to take advantage of the opportunity to visit the infamous Holocaust concentration camp Auschwitz, as part of a nationwide programme to educate pupils of the atrocities.

Nadhim Zahawi, minister in the Department for Education says the Ipswich Opportunity Area plan will give young people in the town to be the best version of themselves.

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