Businesses opposed new A12 speed limits

By Rebecca SheppardA LEADING businessman has spoken out against a proposal to reduce the speed limits on the A12, claiming it would cause companies to lose money.

By Rebecca Sheppard

A LEADING businessman has spoken out against a proposal to reduce the speed limits on the A12, claiming it would cause companies to lose money.

Lowestoft and Waveney Chamber of Commerce has lodged an objection to Suffolk County Council's plan to slow down the road through villages between Ipswich and Lowestoft.

It complained the council's route management strategy failed to address the major problems with the A12.

Roger Knights, president of the chamber, said: “We cannot ignore the safety element in this, but our campaign demonstrated the economic disadvantages of the poor communication links in Lowestoft, which have not been taken on board by Suffolk County Council.

“Overall, our problem is with the road condition and the fact that there is not a bypass. They are solving a problem that is there because of the engineering decisions that have gone before.

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“We are objecting that the whole route has been badly thought out previously.”

Mr Knights added businesses were losing money because of the time it took to travel to Lowestoft along the road, particularly when drivers on tachographs cannot complete the journey in time.

He said companies were being discouraged from locating in the Lowestoft area because their perception of the route was “not good”.

Julia Harris, clerk of Farnham Parish Council, said slowing down the road from 40mph to 30mph through the village and Stratford St Andrew could cause traffic to build up.

“We need an alternative route. Speed reductions only mask the problem and do not rectify it,” she added.

Marlesford Parish Council has also objected to the proposal as it would leave 350 yards of Bell Lane, which leads onto the A12, in a 40mph limit, despite the fact the rest of the village has a 30mph limit.

The county council is planning to extend the 30mph limit in Yoxford, as well as lengthen the 40mph limit through Darsham, cutting the current restriction by 20mph.

Darsham Parish Council chairman, Ron Reeve, said it had been calling for the change for about two years as it was the “cheapest solution” to reduce the number of accidents.

In Little Glemham, where the speed limit will be reduced from 50mph to 30mph, parish council chairman, Peter Chaloner, said: “I am disappointed it has not occurred until now.”

If the proposal is given the go-ahead, Wrentham will have a 40mph limit following the 30mph restriction leading out of the northern end of the village.

Suffolk County Council also wants to slash the speed limit on the Woodbridge bypass from 50mph to 40mph after a survey showed people were travelling up to 55.2mph on average.

Nigel Barratt, member of Woodbridge Town Council, said: “The A12 as a whole needs a far better level of traffic management by the county council to improve the use of the road. This would improve average speed times and congestion.”

A 30mph limit will replace the current 50mph and some of the 40mph restrictions in Blythburgh, while a 40mph limit will be fixed in Kessingland.

County councillor Peter Monk, who has responsibility for public protection, said there was “an enormous amount of pressure” from communities to improve the A12.

“What we have done is look along the length of the road and given the best proposals according to the answers of the consultation and the accident data from our road safety team and engineers,” he added.

The county council's rights of way sub-committee will discuss the objections on November 25.