Villagers' raise traffic fears

By Alison WithersVILLAGERS could face up to an extra 500 cars on their roads at peak times if planning permission is given for a major housing development.

By Alison Withers

VILLAGERS could face up to an extra 500 cars on their roads at peak times if planning permission is given for a major housing development.

Almost 200 people attended a meeting in Holbrook last night to discuss a proposal to build 500 homes on the former HMS Ganges site in Shotley.

Planning permission has already been granted for 150 homes at Shotley Marina and villagers heard the two developments could generate between 400 and 500 extra vehicles at peak times.

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But Philippa Mason, planning consultant for HMS Ganges developers Haylink, said if the development - which could bring an extra 1,800 people into the community - went ahead, it would be looking to minimise car use.

She added it was also investigating other measures to minimise the effect of the extra traffic on other villages along the B1456 Ipswich to Shotley road.

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Residents' concerns about the increased traffic were shared by experts from Suffolk County Council's highways department, Babergh District Council's planning department, the NHS and Suffolk police.

Alan Newman, highways' development/building manager, said: “I have been very concerned. It's a development at the end of a long cul-de-sac, that's effectively what it is.

“You do have to be concerned when you have a road like that more than in a town situation where there are link roads.”

There were calls made at the meeting for a continuous cycle route from Shotley to Ipswich and for work to upgrade the junction in Freston, where two people died in an accident last month, and the A137 junction.

Other concerns were raised over the lack of affordable housing in the area, extra pressure for places at Shotley Primary and Holbrook High Schools, and the need for more GPs.

Babergh District Council planning officer Martin Price, assured residents nothing had yet been decided.

He added there would be more public consultation before Haylink's outline application went before the council's development committee, which is not expected to be before the spring.

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