Road plans slammed by villagers

MORE than 200 people packed a public meeting to speak out against road safety proposals near their homes.Villagers and businesses in Combs Ford, Stowmarket, claim they were not fully informed of Suffolk County Council's new traffic scheme, which has been earmarked for Needham Road.

By Danielle Nuttall

MORE than 200 people packed a public meeting to speak out against road safety proposals near their homes.

Villagers and businesses in Combs Ford, Stowmarket, claim they were not fully informed of Suffolk County Council's new traffic scheme, which has been earmarked for Needham Road.

The proposals involve the introduction of traffic calming measures that will narrow part of the road to the width of one car and also new cycle routes. Work is due to start in February.


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But residents fear the move will cause congestion and noise, and say the money should be spent on more important road improvements elsewhere in the town.

Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket MP David Ruffley called a public meeting in Hillside Community Centre for Sunday night, which was attended by scores of concerned residents.

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Carla Firman, who lives in Poplar Hill and was present at the meeting, said many of the affected parties did not know anything about the proposed measures including First Buses, Combs Ford Parish Council and Battisford Parish Council.

She added: “The main purpose of this new scheme is to slow down the boy-racers.

“From experience - we live in Poplar Hill, which has fairly recently had traffic calming measures installed - we know that nothing will stop the boy-racers except speed cameras/the police, resulting in fines and points on their licences.

“Speed bumps and pinch points just add to the fun of racing. The main concern of all residents of Stowmarket is a relief road over the railway. Why not concentrate the money on this, which is far more urgent?

“Don't waste money on something which is not necessary and will cause rat-runs in residential areas past two schools.”

Mrs Firman said residents were against the new scheme and wanted the present system to remain as it is.

They also wanted more details of the plans.

Julian Swainson, county council portfolio holder for environment and transport who was also present at the meeting, said: “There were some detailed technical points raised and we will look into this.

“The overall point is, although there was some widespread consultation, it was some time ago and people probably need an update and I'm not sure we covered everyone who might have had an interest in it.

“I'm going to ask our officers to look again to consult with people affected and discuss with local people the scheme and how best to make the road safer.

“There are many parts of the scheme that are not controversial. I was very appreciative of people who took the trouble to come to the meeting on a freezing cold night. I want to make sure their views are heard.”

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