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Closure of Woods Lane, Melton, to resume – with extended working hours agreed

PUBLISHED: 18:04 04 January 2018 | UPDATED: 18:04 04 January 2018

The Woods Lane closure in Melton  is set to resume for phase two. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Woods Lane closure in Melton is set to resume for phase two. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Homes and businesses in east Suffolk are bracing themselves for the second phase of a major road closure which has been criticised for the widespread disruption it has already brought.

Louie Rudge-Buchanan (left) and Kit Cloughter attended a publci meeting in protest against the closure of Woods Lane in Melton. Picture: GREGG BROWNLouie Rudge-Buchanan (left) and Kit Cloughter attended a publci meeting in protest against the closure of Woods Lane in Melton. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The first closure of Woods Lane in Melton lasted much of November, earning the name “Carmageddon” after drivers complained of longer journey times, road accidents and stretches of the A12 becoming “like a carpark”.

Bloor Homes, which shut the road for work on its 180-home Longwood Fields development, said it would consult about possible 24/7 working to minimise disruption during phase two, which begins on Monday.

A spokesman for Bloor said the results of the consultations showed support for extended working hours – but not for a full 24 hour operation.

In response, Bloor will increase working hours Monday-Friday and also Saturday and Sunday “where practices can be safely applied”.

“Although the road closure runs until April 13, Bloor Homes expect the works to be completed sooner and will update progress on the dedicated website www.woodslane.bloorhomes.com,” the spokesman added.

“Bloor Homes is committed to ensuring that the necessary construction work is undertaken with disruption kept as minimal as is possible.”

Melton resident Allan Cole, 60, said he was expecting “more of the same trauma – cars queuing up the road, accidents and 10 minute journeys taking nearly an hour”. “One month felt like a lifetime, three months will feel like eternity,” he added.

Geoff Holdcroft, deputy leader of Suffolk Coastal and chairman of Woodbridge Town Council’s highways committee, said: “All the local councils continue to work closely with Bloor Homes to make sure they manage this closure in order to minimise the disruption to local people. On a personal level, I will continue to try to do everything within my power to ensure Bloor Homes completes the work as quickly as possible.”

Buffy Barrington, from Melton Parish Council, said the discussions had led to Saddlemakers Lane becoming one way and better speed restrictions on Yarmouth Road.

“There is only so much we can do and so much that highways will agree to but we have tried our best,” she added.

More than 3,000 people signed a petition calling for compromise over the road closure, which was described as a “vital artery” connecting the A12 with Melton, Woodbridge and the Wilford Peninsula.

Bloor has faced significant criticism over the proposals, culminating in a heated public meeting in November.

“Bloor Homes apologises for any inconvenience caused during these works,” the spokesman added.

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David Vincent

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EADT writer David Vincent has more than 40 years experience in Suffolk. He has explored the highways and byeways of East Anglia, meeting homeowners, developers and estate agents from Bury St Edmunds to Aldeburgh and Colchester to Diss.

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