Decision made on A12 speed limits – what happens now
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
Plans to introduce 40mph and 50mph speed limits on a key section of the A12 have been vehemently rejected, after being branded “ludicrous”.
As part of the 2,000-homes Brightwell Lakes development near Martlesham's Adastral Park, Suffolk County Council's development and regulation committee were asked to consider changes to the A12.
It proposed to introduce speed limits of 40mph and 50mph between the Foxhall Road junction and the A1214 roundabout, as well as limits on Foxhall Road and Ipswich Road.
The committee was recommended to approve the plans, which must go to highways cabinet member Mary Evans for final sign-off, but instead strong opposition was heard.
Councillor Peter Beer said: "It would be much safer to have an overpass or underpass [for pedestrians]. To suggest having three of four different speed limits in a short distance is ludicrous."
Robert Whiting, councillor for Kesgrave and Rushmere St Andrew division, said: "The A12 is a strategic dual carriageway, and yet the best we are offered are minor improvements, reduced traffic speeds and many, many more traffic lights. This is just not good enough."
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The committee heard that there were fears the increased amount of traffic the new homes will bring on an already busy route would mean speed limits would not help, as the road would be gridlocked anyway.
The changes, which are to be funded by the developers, did not include any provision for a pedestrian overpass because it did not own land on the west side of the A12, or any road-widening.
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Traffic lights on the Tesco and Foxhall Road roundabouts are already expected to be a part of a package of changes, which Mr Whiting said would slow down traffic further.
Ian Kaye, speaking on behalf of Waldringfield Parish Council, said: "The concern of the residents of Waldringfield are centred around the proposed speed limit on the Ipswich Road, which is frequently used as a rat run to avoid the A12. It's inevitable the number using this road will increase significantly."
Both Waldringfield and Martlesham parish councils called for the speed limit to be consistent, rather than several changes.
The committee rejected the proposals, which will now be put forward to cabinet member Mary Evans for a final decision.
If she also rejects those, it is understood the developers will have to come back with an improved series of proposals.
However, the plans were only an interim measure for when the development of the homes begins, and further changes were not ruled out.
Highways advisor Luke Barber said: "We will be able to further tweak the speed limit proposals. What is proposed is an interim solution which will ensure the safety of the junctions, and if further changes in speed limits are required over time then that's something we are insisting the developer funds."
What councillors said:
Peter Beer, councillor for Great Cornard, said: "It would be much safer to have an overpass or underpass [for pedestrians]. To suggest having three of four different speed limits in a short distance is ludicrous."
Patricia O'Brien, councillor for Martlesham, said: "I would welcome the introduction of a single speed limit of 40mph - I believe having a combination of speed limits will confuse motorists."
Robert Whiting, councillor for Kesgrave and Rushmere St Andrew, said: "What we have got is a compromise, a sub-optimal solution before a single house is built on the Brightwell Lakes development."
Melanie Vigo di Gallidoro, councillor for Pakefield, said: "We have to demand this road is upgraded. It's totally unacceptable this big development should ask the need to make minor speed limit changes which is going to cause disruption."
Stuart Bird, Felixstowe North and Trimley councillor said: "If this proposal goes ahead in five-to-ten years time we will walk that distance quicker than the time it will take in a car."