New bid to tackle town's traffic problem

By Patrick LowmanA TOWN that was left reeling after losing its 30-year battle for a bypass now looks set to receive a £25,000 boost to help improve its traffic problems.

By Patrick Lowman

A TOWN that was left reeling after losing its 30-year battle for a bypass now looks set to receive a £25,000 boost to help improve its traffic problems.

Babergh District Council officers have recommended it puts up the money to help improve traffic conditions along the A131 in Sudbury.

The road is overburdened with heavy lorries, which residents claimed were destroying their quality of life.

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The money would be used to enhance and improve the quality and design of traffic management schemes which will be carried out in the town as part of Suffolk County Council's local transport action plan, due to be completed by 2005.

As part of the plan, the county council will be implementing traffic management schemes in Ballingdon Street, Cross Street, Mill Hill and Stour Street.

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The works are seen as essential to make the fight for the much-needed western bypass around the town a success in the future.

Government ministers threw out the plan for the relief road on environmental grounds after councillors in Essex raised concerns about the route.

Although the Government has not been ruled out the £30million bypass forever, it is unlikely to be reconsidered until the next phase of the local transport plan in about 2016.

Ministers said the county council should implement traffic measures in the town to reduce and manage the impact of high volumes of traffic.

The Department of Transport added the measures should be monitored over a number of years before any further consideration was given to bypassing the town.

In a report to go before Babergh District Council's overview and scrutiny committee, its head of planning policy and economic development, Neil Greig, said: "The proposed work in the streets will not deal with the whole town centre, but this could form the first significant phase in addressing the points the ministers have made.

"Whilst the bypass proposal has not been ruled out forever, it is clear that these important works in the conservation area may need to be in place in the longer term.

"This increases the importance of ensuring that the design and materials fit in with the conservation area and of providing some funding input to the works to achieve this.

"The quality of life of residents in the area is seriously adversely affected by traffic and there are traffic safety issues, justifying the highway scheme."

The matter goes before councillors tomorrow and they have been urged to allocate £25,000 from its 2004/05 capital programme to fund the enhancements of the traffic schemes along the A131.

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