May 22 2013 Latest news:
By Mariam Ghaemi
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
SEVEN roundabouts in Bury St Edmunds could be replaced with traffic lights to mitigate future traffic growth, a councillor has said.
County councillor Mark Ereira, who represents the Tower division, told the East Anglian Daily that at a meeting on January 15 draft highways measures were put forward by consultants for Suffolk County Council to deal with increased traffic as a result of thousands of new homes.
Mr Ereira, who represents the Green Party, said replacing seven roundabouts in the town with traffic lights, extra slip roads off the A14 at three junctions and limited sustainable transportation measures had been suggested.
A spokeman for Suffolk County Council, which is the highways authority, emphasised that the traffic modelling is “very provisional,” adding it was looking at a “multitude of options”.
He said the draft assessment work would be published alongside the final round of public consultation on the Vision 2031 document, which is due to be launched by St Edmundsbury Borough Council in June.
Vision 2031, which is a plan to guide and manage growth in the town over the next 20 years and beyond, includes 900 homes between the Howard Estate and Fornham All Saints, 500 homes for Moreton Hall, 1,250 between Bury and Great Barton and 1,250 to the south east of the town.
Mr Ereira said replacing the roundabouts with traffic lights in Bury would be like “creating Harlow in Suffolk”.
He added: “I think they will have a dreadful, dreadful impact on the look and feel of the town. We are at the stage where we don’t have much in the way of traffic lights. The visual impact is dreadful, bearing in mind we have Bury in Bloom working extremely hard and well and diligently to make the roundabouts attractive features.”
Councillor David Nettleton, borough councillor for the Risbygate ward, said the suggestion of removing seven roundabouts in Bury and replacing them with “yet more pathetically useless traffic lights is dynamite”.
“We need 21st Century traffic management solutions to congestion not clapped-out thinking from the 1960s,” he said.
Mr Ereira said he wanted the information presented at the private meeting on January 15 to be made public, adding he believed the county council elections in May could be a reason for the secrecy.
The county council spokesman said there were no solid proposals at this stage, adding “it could all change”. He added the council could not give details of specific roundabouts for this reason.
A spokeswoman for the borough council said the highways assessment work would form part of the body of evidence that supports the Vision 2031 document, adding the public would not be consulted on specifics at that stage.
She said the consultation was to find out whether the plan as a whole is “legal and sound”.
She said there was still a huge amount of analysis and potentially further research to underpin the detail in the document, adding “we will take all the care, and time, that is needed before the next consultation”.