Couple prepared to sacrifice for safety

A SUFFOLK couple today praised proposals to straighten the Haughley bends, even though they could have to sacrifice some of their farm.Ruth and John Gammer, of Woodside Farm, Haughley, face a battle with the A14 traffic every time they leave their home.

A SUFFOLK couple today praised proposals to straighten the Haughley bends, even though they could have to sacrifice some of their farm.

Ruth and John Gammer, of Woodside Farm, Haughley, face a battle with the A14 traffic every time they leave their home.

It is situated next to the busy trunk road and the only access is directly off the dual carriageway.

Suffolk County Council has plans to bypass the notorious bends with a new road and the Gammers say it cannot come quick enough.

Their call for improvements coincides with The Evening Star's new safety campaign for the A12 and A14.

The papers is demanding an investigation into whether slow moving tractors and bicycles should be banned from the county's busy roads in an attempt to stop lives being lost.

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The Gammer's farm highlights the dangers faced by drivers. Vehicles leaving the farm, via Shepherds Lane, have to cross two lanes of dual carriageway to head towards Stowmarket or Ipswich. This includes tractors, combine harvesters and grain trucks.

Mrs Gammer, 74, said; "Traffic levels are increasing every year and it's making life more and more difficult for us.

"I avoid going out at commuter times when it's busy and always allow some extra time for the journey in case I get delayed waiting to get out.

"We know something needs to be done and when they put the new road in there's no doubt it will take pressure off of us.

"Obviously we would like the changes to be made straight away but we understand things don't happen like that.

The county council's proposed changes include closing all the gaps in the central reservation and creating local access via a two-level junction.

Work on the £32million project is due to start in the summer of 2007 and be completed by spring 2009.

The plans may result in the Gammers losing part of their 100-acre arable farmland, but they are not objecting.

Mr and Mrs Gammer have lived on the farm for 30 years.

Mrs Gammer added: "To be honest we have just got used to having to cross the two carriageways.

"It's obviously dangerous but it probably seems worse to our visitors who are not used to it. We just take it in our stride.

"We can't object to some of our land being taken. Someone has got to lose out and for safety's sake we don't mind it being us."

Mr Gammer, 83, said: "When it's harvest or when we are ploughing there are tractors coming on and off the farm all day. When merchants come to get grain they bring 40-tonne lorries.

"The longest I've had to wait at the junction is ten minutes - that's a long time just watching traffic.

"We once had a cyclist ask if he could cut across our land because police had advised him not to cycle on the bends but other than that we don't see much of cyclists on this stretch.

"The speed cameras don't help us much because cars know where they are."

How safe do you think the A14 is? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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