D-day approaches for Ikea warehouse

DISMAYED villagers who fear their quality of life may be ruined forever by a controversial warehouse development have blasted the scheme as "ill thought-out".

DISMAYED villagers who fear their quality of life may be ruined forever by a controversial warehouse development have blasted the scheme as "ill thought-out".

Residents of Great Barton, near Bury St Edmunds, say their lives have been made a misery by heavy volumes of traffic using the A143 – and have warned the problem will only get worse if the proposal by furniture giant Ikea is approved.

The final decision on the controversial scheme earmarked for Shepherd's Grove, Stanton, is due to be taken on Thursday, when councillors on St Edmundsbury Borough Council's planning committee will discuss the matter.

Officers have recommended the project, which will see a warehouse providing 300 jobs constructed on a 32.5 hectare site, for approval – much to the anger of villagers living further down the A143, which traffic will use as a direct route to reach the building.

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Margaret Horbury, who represents Great Barton on the borough council, said it would be good news for Stanton, bringing employment.

She added: "But I believe Ikea should have looked for somewhere nearer the A14 – it seems very ill thought-out to subject a village like Great Barton to such heavy traffic. The situation is bad enough already, and is only going to get worse.

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"This will bring a great many extra lorries through the village, along roads which were never intended to carry so much traffic.

"Safety is also an issue, as the pavements through Great Barton are very narrow, and we have had some very near misses in the past."

Derek Firth, chairman of the village's parish council, said the move would result in an extra 300 lorries travelling through Great Barton between 6am and 10pm.

"There is talk of introducing traffic calming measures, but all that will do is slow the HGVs down. It will do nothing to lessen the pollution and congestion," he said.

"There are a lot of things the planning committee will come to regret if it does pass this application at this stage. There are still aspects they should consider before taking a decision."

If approved, a new roundabout will be provided on the A143 to take heavy lorries away from Stanton, while the warehouse building itself – which will reach a height of nearly 25m in some places – will be built over two phases to lessen impact on the surrounding area.

Brian Holden, vice-chairman of Stanton parish council, welcomed the recommendation as a positive step for the region as a whole.

"We will eventually have a roundabout in the village as part of the development, and HGVs will be able to access the main road without coming through the village," he said.

"This will also create about 300 jobs, which has got to be good news. Ikea are substantial people, and this will bring a bit of stability to the region."

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