Speed restrictions welcomed

SPEED restrictions are set to be introduced on a north Suffolk road where three members of the same family were killed in an accident earlier this year.

SPEED restrictions are set to be introduced on a north Suffolk road where three members of the same family were killed in an accident earlier this year.

Residents, parish councils, district councillors and county councillors have all been calling for safety improvements on the A144 between Halesworth and Bungay.

In July this year Ivan Jeffery, 60, his wife Pamela, 65, and her mother Constance Rome, 86, who all lived in the Downham Market area of Norfolk, were killed when their car was involved in an accident at Ilketshall St Lawrence involving a lorry and another car.

There have also been other serious accidents, including fatalities, on the road in recent years.

The East Anglian Daily Times supported local residents in their calls for improved safety plans to be introduced on the busy stretch of road that not only links the two north Suffolk towns but is also used by drivers travelling from the northern section of the A12 to Norwich.

The "A144 Make It Safe" campaign received widespread support and the Highways Department at Suffolk County Council were urged to produce a safety plan for the road.

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The county council announced that further speed restrictions are set to be introduced on the road and could be in operation by April next year.

A county council spokeswoman said: "We are intending to install 40 mph buffer zones either side of the present 30 mph limit in parts of Spexhall and Ilketshall St Lawrence.

"The proposals have not been objected to by parish councils and we shall advertise the changes in January."

The spokeswoman added that it is hoped to make the necessary changes and have the speed restriction signs in place by the end of the current financial year on March 31, 2004.

It is planned to install a 40 mph zone for approximately one mile north of the existing 30 mph limit and for ¾ of a mile to the south.

Parish councillors at Spexhall and Ilketshall St Lawrence have welcomed the move to increase the area where speed restrictions apply.

Morris Rose, who represents the Ilketshall area on Waveney District Council and Suffolk County Council, said he was delighted safety improvements are being carried out.

"There have been far too many accidents on the stretch of road between Bungay and Halesworth.

"I have been in contact with the parish councils in the area and everyone is extremely pleased that more speed restrictions are being put in place."

Mr Rose said he would be contacting staff at the county council's highways department to congratulate them on their work on this matter.

"I know it is not an easy matter to get further speed restrictions put in place and it is obvious that this particular scheme has been fast-tracked to have it ready in such a short space of time.

"I think this shows that county council staff appreciated the urgency of the situation," he said.

Mr Rose, along with fellow county councillor Peter Aldous, have been at the forefront of calls for the road to be made safer.

"Peter Aldous and I both felt that something had to be done to make the road safer.

"We are both pleased with the planned new speed restrictions but will continue to press for further improvements," said Mr Rose.

One idea that many local residents want to see is a 50mph speed limit on all parts of the A144 between Halesworth and Bungay where there are no other speed restrictions.

"Having a 50 mph limit has worked well on parts of the A12 in north Suffolk and I believe it would work on the A144.

"Many motorists mistakenly believe they can drive fast because there are long straight stretches of road but there are hidden dips and many turnings so 50mph would be a sensible top speed," said Mr Rose.

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