Residents ‘sceptical’ about plans to move parking on chaotic road
- Credit: ROSIE STAMP
A congested road in Hadleigh which has long been a contentious subject in the town could finally have a solution – as plans to move parking spaces are put forward.
Benton Street has caused a variety of problems for residents and passers-by in Hadleigh, with complaints of overweight lorries using it to reach industrial estates and drivers mounting the pavements going back years.
Residents have had their parked cars damaged, with wing-mirrors being knocked off and cars being scraped, as well as homes getting damaged.
Read more: Meet the woman fighting for her street after 25% of residents report being hit by carsYesterday, a van smashed into a parked car resulting in it being written off and its owner being forced to take time off work.
Meanwhile, Rosie Stamp, who grew up in Suffolk and moved to Benton Street last year, also had her parked car written off due to someone hitting it.
She said: "The street was designed for horse and carts - not the type of traffic we have now.
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"When I go outside to get in the car each morning I'm always half expecting to see some type of new dent or scratch. Cars also regularly mount the pavement at speed, so I am always cautious when walking down the road."
The 29-year-old says the road needs to be made one-way and doesn't see any other solution.
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She said: "This will prevent cars trying to squeeze past each other and mounting the pavement, or hitting houses. There also needs to be enforcement to prevent lorries coming down the road, such as a camera."
What's being done?
Mick Fraser, Suffolk county councillor for Hadleigh, said the council's priority was the safety of pedestrians, as too many cars have been driving along pavements.
He said: "The key problem is that Benton Street is narrow in places and there is inconsiderate parking."
Suffolk Highways designed a number of possible solutions which were put forward to Hadleigh residents earlier this year, with Mr Fraser stating that "some options were realistic, while others were controversial".
Results showed that the residents' preferred option was a diversion via Hook Lane representing 34.31%, and the second most favoured was to install a one-way system along Benton Street in a North direction, which accounted for 21.17%.
While the relocation of on-street parking and a possibility to provide new off-street parking received 13.4% support.
This relocation of parking spaces to wider areas of the street is the option Suffolk Highways are going to proceed with. It will be considered by Hadleigh Town Council this month and could be implemented next year.
Mr Fraser said: "If it is agreed the relocation of parking spaces would coincide with several parking enforcements, allowing the district council to deploy traffic wardens in the town.
"This means some residents would need to find somewhere else to park."
According to Mr Fraser, Hadleigh United FC has offered its car park to residents for a monthly fee.
Mr Fraser says he hopes that the plan will help resolve the problem, if it is agreed.
However, not everyone is optimistic about the decision to relocate on-street parking spaces.
'I'm sceptical about the plans'
Emma Heath, 40, who lives in Benton Street, was devastated after her home was hit by a double decker bus in December last year - causing severe structural damage which is yet to be fixed.
Emma, whose property has been hit more than four times over the last 12 months, admits that she "lives on edge" and would sell the property if she could.
When asked about the proposal to relocate spaces, Emma says she is "sceptical" but would "like to see something put in place".
She said: "It's been really frustrating because people keep talking about the problem but nothing happens.
"The traffic is only going to get worse. I don't see how moving parking spaces will make much difference, a short-term solution would be to enforce the rules already in place - such as stopping lorries with cameras and traffic wardens, but personally I think making the road one-way is the best option."
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