Road campaigners face anxious wait

RESIDENTS of a road that has been cut off from the rest of their village by a major highway are facing a nail-biting wait to hear if anyone has objected to a link road scheme to reconnect them.

RESIDENTS of a road that has been cut off from the rest of their village by a major highway are facing a nail-biting wait to hear if anyone has objected to a link road scheme to reconnect them.

The details of the £400,000 scheme to build a link from Old London Road, Capel St Mary, to an underpass from the A12 into the village have now been published.

The consultation period will last until Thursday, August 28, and the residents of Old London Road, who have been campaigning for the link for 12 years, will be hoping that no-one objects to the scheme at this late stage.

Resident Ivan Shapland, 57, has lived in Old London Road since 1971 and has watched traffic get busier and faster on the A12, which residents have to cross to get into the village via Pound Lane.


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He said: "It's a bit nerve wracking. It's been 12 years we have been fighting for this through four transport ministers. I just hope this is the last go. It would be sad if we didn't get it now."

But the link road proposals have got to the point where both the route and the money had been agreed before, five years ago, only to find that the Government had cut the roads budget because the link was deemed too expensive and the campaign had to start all over again.

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However, this time, there is optimism that the link will actually be built later in the autumn and villagers will no longer have to dice with death to gain access to Capel's shops, school, library and village hall.

Parish council chairman Gerald White said: "It certainly has been a long time coming. It's a bit of a cliff hanger and we have to hope there's no need for another public inquiry, which could put it back again."

If the proposal goes ahead the Highways Agency would close the central reserve gap that allows access to Pound Lane.

Highways Agency project manager Julian O'Dell said: "The agency is committed to improving safety on our roads. The proposed scheme would provide road users with a safer route to access the A12 and the village."

Plans for the link road can be seen at Suffolk County Council, St Edmunds House, Ipswich, and in the library, Capel St Mary.

Comments or objections should be sent to the Highways Agency by August 28, either by e-mail to julian.o'dell@highways.gsi.gov.uk by writing to the Highways Agency, Room 235, Heron House, 49-53 Goldington Road, Bedford, MK40 3LL.

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