Lack of consultation on Woods Lane closure in Melton was ‘astonishing and discourteous’
PUBLISHED: 06:30 29 September 2017
The agreed closure of a busy Suffolk road has met with fresh criticism after community leaders claimed to have been told “absolutely nothing” about the proposals – until it was too late.
Woodbridge Town Council’s highways committee met on Tuesday to discuss the closure of Woods Lane in Melton and the effect on homes and businesses.
The closure, which is scheduled to take place between November 6-30 and January 8 to April 13 to allow for works to Bloor Homes’ 186-home development, is feared to bring widespread disruption to the area, including Woodridge, where traffic will be diverted.
Committee chairman Geoff Holdcroft said it would bring “absolute chaos” to the town and criticised decision makers for the alleged failure to consult with town and parish councils.
Writing to Suffolk Highways, Mr Holdcroft said it was “astonishing and discourteous” his fellow councillors were told “absolutely nothing” about “one of the biggest disruptions to the road network for many years” until the notice was published.
“When I first heard of the closure notice I was frankly flabbergasted at what had been agreed and since then the disbelief and anger of the public has become palpable as the enormity of the implications for Melton and Woodbridge as well as the surrounding communities has sunk in,” he added.
Of particular concern, Mr Holdcroft said, was the effect of more polluting vehicles travelling through Lime Kiln Quay, part of which is already subject to an air quality action plan due to pollution.
He has asked Suffolk Highways to rethink its closure notice and to ask Bloor to find an “alternative solution, which blights fewer people and for a shorter period”.
Nearly 2,000 people have signed a petition making similar calls.
Although Mr Holdcroft’s letter is directed to Suffolk Highways, a spokesman for the authority explained it was the developer’s responsibility to consult.
Bloor Homes, which was refused permission to develop the site by Suffolk Coastal District Council, but won on appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, assured residents it will minimise disruption and apologised for any inconvenience during the works, which it said were necessary.