First they're in - and then they're out

By Lisa CleverdonFURIOUS residents living near an accident blackspot have criticised a council for removing long-awaited traffic-calming measures almost as soon as they were installed.

By Lisa Cleverdon

FURIOUS residents living near an accident blackspot have criticised a council for removing long-awaited traffic-calming measures almost as soon as they were installed.

“Build-outs” - where part of the footway is widened to narrow the road and slow traffic - were installed on Mildenhall Road in Freckenham, near Newmarket, in September.

The move came after almost 40 years of campaigning from residents and councillors, who claimed action was needed to force motorists to keep to the 30mph speed limit through the village.

But almost as soon as the traffic-calming measures were finally put in place, Suffolk County Council officials decided to remove them again after receiving complaints about several minor accidents on the road.

Freckenham councillors and residents have now written to Suffolk County Council chief executive, Mike More, outlining their concerns at the move and criticising the authority for wasting time and money.

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Their letter said: “When, at last, we think we have the listening ear of the county council in the provision of such a feature, our hopes are cruelly dashed.

“The parish council received positive reports from a number of residents along Mildenhall Road, who commented on how much quieter their homes were since the build-outs were installed.”

However, the new traffic-calming measures also led to fears over visibility and the lack of sufficient warning and hazard signs.

Parish councillor, Nial Murphy, said: “These are issues that should have been taken into consideration before the build-outs were installed.

“As a parish council, we were concerned to learn that only after the work had been completed the whole site would be subject to a safety and risk assessment study, but this should have been done as part of the consultation exercise.

“It is believed that the money that has been spent on the removal of the build-out would have been better spent on improving its safety.”

Councillors have been told a rumble strip would be installed as a replacement for the build-out.

But parish councillor, David Wheeler, said: “It was a complete waste of time and money removing the build-out and nothing else the county council has promised has been done yet.”

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said it had recently carried out a safety audit on the scheme.

“One of the main issues it revealed was that motorists where not reacting to the physical measure of the scheme until the last minute, which had resulted in some near-misses, so it was recommended that the build-outs be removed,” he added.

“Resurfacing will be taking place along the road and rumble strips will be put in once this work has been completed.

“We have met with the parish council and explained the reasons for removing the build-outs and we have also advised them that we will look at and consult with them on alternative measures that we can safely introduce on the approach to the 30mph speed limit.”

lisa.cleverdon@eadt.co.uk

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