Sudbury Society’s ‘shared space’ vision for Belle Vue junction
- Credit: Archant
A proposal to remodel a busy and often hazardous road junction in Sudbury into a “shared space” for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians has been put forward by a local group.
According to recent research, 29,222 vehicles use the intersection between Newton Road, Girling Street and Great Eastern Road – known as Belle Vue junction – every day.
Following a consultation in 2013, it was identified by Suffolk County Council as a priority area that needed to be improved.
In January, five options were put forward by the county council and two of those are being investigated. These include a signal controlled junction or a roundabout that would enable motorists to turn right up Newton Road, which is currently not possible.
But the Sudbury Society has just unveiled its own vision for the junction to become a shared space.
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Society chair, Lorna Hoey, believes this would offer an opportunity for innovative planning that would also complement Sudbury’s historic setting.
She said: “The concept of shared space means smoother traffic flow and lower speeds to allow pedestrians to cross safely.
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“Also, with no complicated infrastructure, the scheme would be cheaper to produce.
“It would be a flagship scheme that would provide an innovative gateway to an historic market town.”
Under their proposal, traffic would be able to turn right into Newton Road but there would be no traffic lights and areas would be defined by changes to road surface texture.
The plan, which was presented to Sudbury Steering Group on Friday, also includes a new space to be opened up between Cornard and Newton roads with an integrated building that could include a café on top and a bus stop-off point underneath.
As part of the county’s local transport plan, around £460,000 was put aside for traffic improvements in Sudbury, but more than £120,000 has already been spent on consultations and a traffic calming road platform in King Street.
Simon Barrett, chair of Sudbury Steering Group, said the county council would assess the Sudbury Society’s scheme alongside the other options.
But he added: “This sort of scheme is nice but it’s very expensive and if we are going to spend the money, we have to have something with a tangible benefit rather than changing it for the sake of it. It has to be deliverable and deliver benefits to the town.
“It may well turn out that the traffic system we already have is not that bad and is in fact the best we can get for the area.
“Instead we could spend money to improve the public realm by making it look nicer and by improving pedestrian access and safety at the junctions rather than redesigning the whole traffic system.”