Ex-highways boss says Ipswich roads are worse than Naples after explosion of traffic lights

Peter Monk of Pooley Removals at Bentwaters has said that driving in Ipswich is worse than driving i

Peter Monk of Pooley Removals at Bentwaters has said that driving in Ipswich is worse than driving in Naples. - Credit: Archant

A former highways chief who now drives trucks across Europe claims traffic in Ipswich is worse than any city he has ever encountered.

Peter Monk, who was Suffolk County Council’s chairman of transport around 20 years ago, said he “would rather drive through Naples than Ipswich”.

His comments follow reports in the Ipswich Star last week, which revealed 13 new traffic lights had been introduced in the town from 2010-2015.

Motorists claimed the lights made driving a misery with more than 90% of people responding to an online poll saying they had worsened congestion.

Mr Monk, 71, who now runs Pooley Removals, based at Bentwaters, said he had driven trucks “all over the UK and across Europe” and nowhere was as bad as Ipswich.

“Everywhere has traffic problems but, in comparison, Ipswich’s have grown far greater than other towns that we visit,” he added.

“It has become radically worse in the past three years.”

Mr Monk, who has retired from politics, said there were “a few problems along Norwich Road” when he was with the county council, “but nothing like it’s been since they put the traffic lights in”.

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“The big problem has been the lack of co-ordination,” he added.

He claims traffic lights schemes, which he opposed while at the council had been pushed through after his departure.

“Officers were obsessed with traffic lights,” he added.

“They were seen as the panacea of everything.”

SCC’s “Travel Ipswich” plans have drawn widespread criticism from politicians and motorists alike.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said they had not delivered the “promised benefits”, while David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council said “the experience of most people is that it has just made congestion worse.”

“The county council needs to sort this out as a matter of urgency,” he added.

James Finch, who is responsible for highways at SCC, said traffic lights were used to provide safe crossing as part of a variety of measures.

“Our first and highest priority is safety,” he added,

“This underpins all of the work we do. We want all road users, including pedestrians, to be able to move around the area they live, work and visit safely.

“There is no particular preference for their use.”

Mr Finch said the council regularly reviewed traffic management schemes and made changes to suit the needs of the community.

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