Frosty reception for Bloor Homes at meeting over forthcoming major road closure
Housing developers were last night accused of potentially ‘ruining lives and business’ with the planned four-month closure of a ‘major arterial road’.
Bloor Homes endured a frosty reception during a ‘drop-in’ discussion, which turned into an open forum with frustrated local residents when one of their number mounted a table and insisted they face direct questions.
The meeting was held at Suffolk Coastal District Council headquarters days before Woods Lane closes from November 6-30 to widen the road, create a filter lane, pavement for cyclists and pedestrians, and a new bus stop for Longwood Fields. Work to lay a new section of sewer will then close the road for more than three months – from January 8 to April 13.
Bloor Homes said it had investigated all other options but a full closure was required to carry out the works safely and efficiently.
Representatives of the county and district council were also at East Suffolk House headquarters, in Melton, to answer questions on the closure.
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At one point, Andrew Casey, who lives in Woodbridge, stood on a table and invited members of the public to vote in favour of opening the floor to questions – to which the majority raised their hands in agreement.
Abigail Lea, of Happy Horse Saddlery, said the closure threatened to put her out of business.
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Adam Collacott, a resident of Bredfield Road, said: “This closure will disrupt thousands of lives. There has been no consultation. Our opinions, which were never sought, are being run roughshod over.”
Last June, the district council’s attempt to overturn government approval for the 180 new homes was thrown out of the High Court. Suffolk Coastal was fighting the result of a public inquiry the previous year, when a planning inspector reversed the council’s decision to refuse the development of the 20-acre site. The county council said it could not refuse permission for the closure when the developer has a legal right to proceed with the housing.
Kevan Churchill, the Palmer Group, managing the closure, said a direct line of communication would be kept open with every affected resident.
Bloor Homes’ regional contracts manager, Neil Perkins said the firm had committed to investing £2million of community infrastructure levy payments from the development – 33% of which, he said, would be made up of affordable housing.