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Suffolk: Quiet confidence at rural roads pilot scheme is launched

PUBLISHED: 22:08 02 March 2014 | UPDATED: 22:08 02 March 2014

Launch of the Suffolk Quiet Lanes initiative at Bromeswell Village Hall

Suffolk County Council Chairman, Cllr Guy McGregor (2nd R) is joined by Cllr Andrew Reid and Cllr Patricia O'Brian who provided funding for the project and Christine Block (2nd L) who has led the project

Launch of the Suffolk Quiet Lanes initiative at Bromeswell Village Hall Suffolk County Council Chairman, Cllr Guy McGregor (2nd R) is joined by Cllr Andrew Reid and Cllr Patricia O'Brian who provided funding for the project and Christine Block (2nd L) who has led the project

Scores of cyclists and pedestrians took a quiet stroll of almost two miles through east Suffolk lanes on Saturday in a show of support for a new code of practice on minor rural roads.

They set out from Bromeswell Village Hall, near Woodbridge, and made for Eyke along part of the new Suffolk Quiet Lanes pilot scheme network which was officially opened by Suffolk County Council chairman Guy McGregor.

Fifteen single-track lanes in seven parishes have been given Quiet Lane status, with road signs, in a 12-month trial.

Following several trials and formal adoptions in other parts of the country, the Suffolk designations aim to create shared, considerate use of the routes by such groups as motorists, cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians, conserving the tranquillity and rural nature of the routes.

The scheme has the phrase “Expect and Respect” at its heart – urging people to expect the routes to be used by a variety of people, animals and transport and to respect the rights of other users.

Pilot scheme working group chairman Christine Block told guests at the official opening that many people in the Deben Peninsula area had “become increasingly alarmed by the amount of fast traffic using narrow, single-track country lanes.”

On finding that additional speed limits or calming measures were not options, she said, “it becomes all too easy to grumble and feel that nothing can be done.”

However, the Quiet Lanes scheme had emerged through valiant local efforts – “not as a casual, ill-conceived idea and not as an expensive initiative that digs into the public purse, but as a well-prepared scheme which sees the designation of appropriate single-track roads as Quiet Lanes.”

She added: “It begins a campaign which asks all road users to expect to find walkers, or cyclists or horse riders along the lane, to respect their use of the road and to travel with just that extra care and make the country lanes a safe and pleasant place for residents and visitors alike.”

Declaring the pilot scheme open, Mr McGregor told guests it was a “true example of localism” that was “obviously good in a number of ways, such as improving people’s health, supporting tourism and improving safety on the lanes.”

His county council colleague Graham Newman, the authority’s cabinet member for roads and transport who arrived at the event by bicycle, added that it was a “great initiative”.

The pilot scheme is co-ordinated by parish representatives in Bromeswell, Butley, Chillesford, Eyke, Felixstowe, Newbourne and Waldringfield, Suffolk County Council and the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Funding has been given by the AONB’s Sustainable Development Fund and Amenity and Accessibility Fund, Big Lottery Awards for All and donations from county councillors’ local transport budgets and parish councils.

The designated trial lanes are: Mill Lane, Butley, Capel Drift, Capel St Andrew, Cracks Lane, White Woman’s Lane, Low Road, Ufford Road, Castle Hill and Church Lane, all in Eyke, Summer Lane, Common Lane and School Road, all in Bromeswell, Church Lane, Martlesham, Waldringfield Lane and Mill Road, Waldringfield, and Gulpher Road, Felixstowe.

AONB offers £120,000 grants share-out – Full story, Pages 20 & 21

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