Fears raised 16 week closure of Woods Lane in Melton will be ‘horrendous’

Woods Lane, Melton. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Woods Lane, Melton. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Nearly 1,500 people have signed a petition calling for a compromise over a road closure, which could last 16 weeks, and is feared to cause widespread disruption to people living in east Suffolk.

The road closure is connected with Bloor Homes' housing development. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The road closure is connected with Bloor Homes' housing development. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Bloor Homes plans to shut Woods Lane in Melton from November 6-30 and January 8–April 13 to allow for essential works to its 186 home development, which was approved on appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, despite local opposition.

The road is major access route connecting the A12 with Melton, Suffolk Coastal District Council’s headquarters and the Wilford peninsular.

People using the route and those living in nearby Woodbridge, where traffic will be diverted, have raised serious concerns about the impact of the road closure and questioned why it needs to be completely shut off for so long.

A petition, which this morning had been signed by nearly 1,500 people in just four days, has called for a “compromise” over the closure.

“The impact on the community, businesses and the locals who will be adversely affected by the closure and diversions of such a vital artery to the area, which is already a choke point, is immense,” the petition says.

“It will render them effectively unusable for the community for a period of time that is not acceptable.”

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Melton Parish Council has also expressed concern about the effects of the closure.

“We are not happy about it,” a council spokesman said,

“It was discussed by the council’s planning and transport committee last week but because the consent for the development was in place, the licence has been granted, and there’s not much we can do about it.

“Obviously the prospect of all the traffic going through Woodbridge is not something people are pleased about but, there’s not much we can do.”

Resident Allan Cole said he was “astonished and dismayed” to hear of the news and questioned why the woks could not be carried out at night, as many other large roadwork projects are.

“Woodbridge traders must be apoplectic with rage at the timing of this,” he added.

Caroline Page, Woodbridge’s county councillor, said the closure was the “unintended consequences of planners who have no understanding of the effect their decisions are going to have”.

Woodbridge town clerk Chris Walker said it would be “horrendous “for the town.

People living on the peninsular have also raised concerns, fearing their main access route would be cut off.

John Haley, who lives in Alderton said: “If we want to go anywhere we have to come over Wilford Bridge which leads more or less straight on to Woods Lane, so our only route out of the peninsular will be closed.”

A spokesman for Bloor Homes said: “This closure is necessary whilst Bloor Homes carries out construction of new footways, bus stops, access improvements and utility connections for Longwood Fields development.

“The road will re-open on the December 2 until January 8 and is scheduled to close again on January 8, 2018, until April 13. The same diversion is expected to be in place, however Bloor Homes will notify residents nearer to the expected closure date.

“Bloor Homes aims to keep disruption to a minimum and apologises for any inconvenience caused whilst this necessary work takes place.

Suffolk County Council acknowledged the closure would have an impact on local people, but said it could not refuse permission when the developer has a legal right to proceed with the development.

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