‘It’s madness’ - Row erupts over plan to redirect lorries on the Essex-Suffolk border
PUBLISHED: 07:45 24 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:11 26 February 2020
Plans to ease A131 congestion between Essex and Suffolk - by directing traffic to the A134 - were criticised as “madness” by councillors.
Drivers travelling north on the A12 at Chelmsford are currently directed to get to Bury St Edmunds by taking the A131 - which sends them through Sudbury and Halstead and can leave passing lorries squeezing through narrow lanes.
But some parish, district and county councillors are instead suggesting sending people up the A12 to Colchester and taking the A134 through Nayland and Dedham Vale.
However, the discussion appears to have been made without consulting any councillors along the proposed route, leading to demands for more information before any more progress is made.
Nayland and Wissington parish councillor Gerry Battye said the plans were "shifting problems, not solving them".
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"HGVs routed via villages is inappropriate - routing them through villages many miles away is even sillier," said Mr Battye.
"Recommending a much longer route to the Colchester Stadium roundabout, the Northern Approaches road, adjacent to the hospital, the congested Mill Road intersection and onto the increasingly potholed A134 is madness."
Simon Amstutz, staff manager at the Dedham Vale AONB, also wanted to know more about the proposals.
"If the plan is to affect a nationally designated landscape, I would like to know what consideration has been taken of the AONB," he said.
Deputy Sudbury mayor Jack Owen and fellow county councillor Steve Hall, Essex County and Braintree District councillor Jo Beavis and Halstead town councillor Andy Munday had entered preliminary discussions to change the road signs at the Boreham Interchange.
Mr Owen said: "Our meeting went well but it was agreed that we need to move it to the next stage which is involving officers and lead councillors from both counties so that we can widen the discussion."
Ms Beavis said: "It is early days but there is much goodwill and ideas to be discussed to divert national freight away from the main towns of Sudbury and Halstead using better signage for a strategic route on the existing road network."