Sudbury: Babergh could take action over emergency link road

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Safety concerns have been raised by people living next to an unfinished bus and emergency vehicle roadway linking two Sudbury housing estates.

The road between Chaucer Estate and the new Priory Estate was required as part of a planning condition dating back to 1995 between Babergh District Council, the developers and the county council highways department.

In July 2001, Babergh’s development committee decided the link should be for pedestrians, cyclists, buses and emergency vehicles only, and as part of the planning agreement reached in April 2005, developer Persimmon was told it must fund a traffic regulation order limiting traffic access through the link.

But despite the route being ‘signed off’ in March 2012 after more than seven years in the planning process, the county council has been unable to tell nearby residents when it is likely to open. In the meantime, it has become a “rat-run” for motorcyclists and the design of the gateway could pose a hazard to children living on both estates, according to Andrew Kellaway, whose house is directly in front of the roadway.

He told the EADT: “When we first bought our house four years ago, we were told the link would be built to stop any traffic apart from buses or emergency vehicles from coming though.

“They have since installed concrete structures like egg boxes on the road surface, which could prove lethal to the kids who play out here. But they don’t seem to stop the cars – which go through with two wheels on the pavement – and motorcycles that can get through easily, from using it as a cut-through.

“The frustrating thing is that it’s just been left since last summer and it looks like a builders’ yard. The whole thing has devalued our properties and potential buyers are being put off.”

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A county council spokeswoman confirmed that the highways authority’s only movement on the link road during the past year was to complete an informal consultation for the necessary traffic regulation order (TRO), which could not go ahead until after the recent council elections were over.

She was unable to say whether highways had adopted the roadway or when the link was likely to open.

Sudbury county councillor John Sayers has written to Babergh on behalf of residents. He said: “It’s a year since the contractors moved off the site and as far as I know, this link road is not even on the bus route yet. The people round here are quite understandably running out of patience – it isn’t fair on them.”

A Babergh spokeswoman confirmed the link road had remained partially built for several years as significant outstanding surface water drainage works were required below it. She added: “We have (now) been made aware that there may be a breach of planning control relating to the provision of this link road and the barrier that would restrict the type of traffic that could use the link road. The matter is currently under investigation and as soon as this is completed, any necessary action will be taken.”