A civic society has warned a new walking and cycling project in a Suffolk town will increase pollution and cause 'substantial inconvenience' for residents.

The Woodbridge and Melton Society has said the developers of the Active Travel Woodbridge scheme had not understood the 'dynamics of an historic market town' in drawing up plans to make the town's streets safer and encourage more people to walk and cycle.

The proposals include the creation of a 20mph zone in the south of the town and the town centre, while physical restrictions such as bollards could be used to close sections of roads in Bilney Road, Bullard's Lane, California and near the railway bridge on Sandy Lane.

READ MORE: Public consultation launched into Active Travel Woodbridge

However, instead the society suggests using the Government's £5 million funding for the project to address the dangers from vehicles using Woodbridge as a 'rat run' from the nearby A12 carriageway.

Its proposals include creating safer access for pedestrians, cyclists and mobility scooters between the town centre, the riverside, the rail station, the historic Tide Mill, as well as restaurants, the cinema, the leisure centre and car parks.

Pedestrian crossings should be provided, along with safer pavements in Quay Street while a 20mph speed limit should be established throughout this area.

READ MORE: Suffolk County Council Woodbridge consultation running out

The society said blocking off Bilney Road and Bullard's Lane would push traffic to use longer routes to access the A12 and town centre, while the changes to Burkitt Road would restrict parking for residents and workers at the Woodbridge Lodge care home.

Concerns were also raised about the proposed closure of Hasketon Road at the junction with the A12, which the society believed would add traffic to the congested Grundisburgh Road roundabout and affect access to the town's Farlingaye High School.

READ MORE: Fears raised about Active Travel Woodbridge scheme

The society's chair Garth Pollard said: "The funding available could benefit Woodbridge enormously if the focus was on the town centre and not on its fringe."

Suffolk County Council has held a series of engagement events about the plans, with the consultation period ending on Tuesday (April 9).

A Suffolk County Council spokesperson said: “The Active Travel Woodbridge proposals were developed following analysis of several data sources to identify issues with the existing network and to find opportunities to make footways and cycle routes more inclusive and accessible to all, as well as community engagement with residents about their existing travel behaviours.

“The final proposals draw on best practice from elsewhere, while considering Woodbridge’s unique setting and character as a market town, to create spaces in which active travel is a safer, more inviting and more natural choice for getting about locally.

"Evidence suggests that active travel schemes provide very high value for money in terms of the health benefits from increased opportunities for physical activity.

“The level of response to the consultation has been higher than expected and the demographic data provided by respondents is broadly representative of the local population.

“We recognised that further engagement was needed with residents, businesses and other local stakeholders about proposals for the town centre, and their feedback will be considered as part of further consultation later this year.”

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