Trimley: A14 lorry noise solution hope moves a step closer

Trimley councillor Graham Harding and Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey discuss the need for acousti

Trimley councillor Graham Harding and Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey discuss the need for acoustic barriers along the A14 near Felixstowe - the next stage will be a planning application. - Credit: Archant

Villagers have been told that a £500,000 acoustic barrier to cut traffic noise from Suffolk’s busiest road could be constructed – despite earlier doubts that it would not work.

A planning application is expected this autumn for the project, which could involve building a three-metre high fence just six feet away from existing back garden fences of properties alongside the A14 in Trimley St Mary.

Parish councillors have some doubts over whether the scheme is possible, especially as some gardens have been extended over the years onto highways land.

It had been thought the fence project might be abandoned with householders offered the opportunity of free triple-glazing to keep out the traffic din instead.

Councillor Graham Harding, who on behalf of Trimley St Mary Parish Council has been working with Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey on the issue and putting pressure on the district council and the Port of Felixstowe to resolve the noise problems, said a planning application would need very careful consideration.

He said: “I have been trying to bring this to a head and now we appear to be getting a firm offer, but it is still very contentious and we will need to go through it very carefully.

“When we spoke to residents 50% of them said no to a fence.

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“A barrier may work for some but not for others.

“The planning application is expected very soon and it could come before Suffolk Coastal for a decision in October or November.”

Councillor Paul Armbruster said: “We do need to find a solution because a lot of people are affected by traffic noise.

“At The Langstons, near the dock spur roundabout, the noise is unbelievable and has got louder since the traffic lights were installed because lorries now pull away slowly and there are clouds of soot in the gardens, too.”

Councillor David Slater said there were also concerns about what the barrier would look like and fears that it could be daubed with graffiti.

When a survey was done, some residents canvassed in Fen Meadow and Thomas Avenue had been against the proposal.

If the barrier was not accepted, this would leave the only option as triple-glazing but councillors said there would need to be a clear explanation from the port and district council as to why some properties on the Farmlands estate qualified and others nearby did not.

There were concerns, though, not only about the sight of the barrier, but also that the 6ft gap – needed for maintenance – would create a corridor that might be used for anti-social behaviour or as a dump for garden waste, attracting vermin.

The scheme is set to cost a maximum of £500,000, which was the figure agreed for the project as part of the mitigation to offset the effects of the most recent port expansion.