Star wins victory on A12 killer gaps
MAJOR steps are to be taken to reduce the danger at the killer gaps on the A12 at Brightwell.Kennels Road, which joins the A12 at the controversial gaps, is to be closed to all but essential traffic.
By Paul Geater
MAJOR steps are to be taken to reduce the danger at the killer gaps on the A12 at Brightwell.
Kennels Road, which joins the A12 at the controversial gaps, is to be closed to all but essential traffic.
The move represents a substantial victory in The Evening Star's campaign to close the gaps, launched in the wake of the accident that claimed the lives of elderly Melton couple Edward and Pamela Bishopp in December 2000.
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Locked gates are to be installed to prevent other traffic using the road as a rat-run and council officials are confident the move will remove almost all traffic that uses the gaps.
Only the residents of three houses and two farmers will have keys to open the gates.
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The county council is unable to go ahead with closing the gaps at present because of a legal right of way granted to owners of homes and businesses on the Brightwell side of Kennels Road when the A12 was built in 1984.
Ultimately Suffolk County Council still hopes to be able to close the gaps completely – but this can only be done after extensive negotiations with landowners and could still be several years away.
By closing Kennels Road between Foxhall Hall Road and the A12, county council officials are confident that most of the danger will be removed.
"The only traffic that will then use the gaps is that going to three homes on the opposite side of the A12, a farmer with land on both sides of the A12, and a smallholder who keeps a few pigs up there," said Rod Sore, a safety officer at Suffolk County Council.
"The major danger at that junction is caused by traffic turning from the Ipswich side or into the Ipswich side through the gaps. That will be stopped by this order," said Mr Sore.
There are three homes and a smallholding on the opposite side of the A14. Most of the land on both sides of the A12 is farmed by Kerr Farms.
They will be the only users allowed to use the closed road. The road will be shut off by locked gates, and those allowed to use it will be given keys to open these gates.
"We appreciate there will be some inconvenience for people who currently use Kennels Road, but there is an alternative – safer – route on to the A12 at the Foxhall Road roundabout," said Mr Sore.
The closure of the road will take about two to three months to introduce.
It can be completed because part of the road is not a designated highway, but a Road Used as a Public Path (RUPP).
"There is no right for the public to drive along there, so there shouldn't be major legal problems with this move," said Mr Sore.
Patricia O'Brien, the councillor who represents the area at County Hall, welcomed the news that the road would be closed.
"If the residents are happy with that, then that's fine. Clearly something needs to be done to make the road safer.
"Closing the gaps would be ideal, but this sounds like a sensible development," she said.