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Mid Suffolk: Anger over state of A14 - parish councils want action

PUBLISHED: 06:02 14 March 2014

Lorries using the A14 along the Bury St Edmunds section.

Lorries using the A14 along the Bury St Edmunds section.

Parish councils are calling on their MP to champion their cause as they seek answers from the Highways Agency on the state of the A14.

The parishes of Wetherden, Harleston, Haughley, Elmswell and Woolpit have “run out of patience” with the agency as they claim a section of the road is in dire need of resurfacing between Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket.

A letter had been sent to their MP, David Ruffley, but he said he needed a “definitive set of problems” before he would be prepared to take it up with the agency.

A draft version of that letter said: “Over many years now, you have received and kindly forwarded to the Highway Agency letters from your constituents in this area requesting that the road surface be attended to.

“This both from the point of view that it is continuing to deteriorate and the noise nuisance the surface causes. Those letters are responded to by the Highways Agency providing the standard responses to such matters which all such agencies use to avoid taking action for as long as possible.

“We are aware of these responses and are now no longer willing to accept them as a reason to take no action.”

Paula Gladwell, clerk for Wetherden Parish Council, said work was being done to produce a detailed report explaining residents’ concerns.

She said: “We are in the process of trying to collate the sort of information and evidence that Mr Ruffley is asking for which will help him when he takes it to the Highways Agency. My take on it is that the road noise does have quite a lot of a negative effect on residents.”

Mr Ruffley said: “It’s a long-standing issue - the noise and state of disrepair. I get all of that but what I said to the parishes is that I’d absolutely set up a meeting in April or May with the Highways Agency - not a problem - but what we need to have is a definitive set of the problems that can be explained.”

Geoffrey Fairclough, parish clerk for Harleston, claimed the road section of concern - between Woolpit and Haughley - had been wearing down since it was meant to be resurfaced almost three years ago.

He said: “I think three years ago in May it was meant to be done. Since then it’s been patched up but the noise is increasing and increasing as time goes by.”

A Highways Agency spokesman said: “We are aware that repair work is needed to sections of carriageway on the A14 between Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket and are currently looking at options to undertake surface repairs during the course of 2014, subject to the availability of funding.”

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