Villagers call to stop 'hazardous' 5-week road closure with huge diversions
- Credit: Keven Thomas
People in a village near Ipswich, are calling for a rethink over a "hazardous" five-week road closure.
Upper Street, in Baylham, is due to be closed off from October 5 to November 11, while a 50-metre stretch of road is widened to create a footpath. This work was one of the planning conditions for nine new homes which are being built in the village.
The Parish Meeting has written to Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, appealing for help to get the planning condition removed so the closure can be cancelled.
Members are trying to get the condition removed before Friday, September 25, as after that they believe it would be too late to cancel the works.
The letter to the MP said the closure will "cause enormous inconvenience to the community and possibly put life at risk by its restriction of access to Baylham’s care home for the elderly and vulnerable".
It read: "This closure to widen a few metres of road and put in a few metres of footpath in no way justifies up to five weeks of road closure requiring the use of 2.6miles of tortuous narrow single track lane instead of 100m of lane to access a two-lane road.
"Any arrival at the care home without prior knowledge will require a diversion of 8.2 miles instead of 100m."
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Keven Thomas, chairman of Baylham Parish Meeting, said: "It will add more than 15 minutes to people's journeys and dramatically increase the traffic on a very narrow, hazardous lane.
"All the children in the community who are affected will have the school run made significantly longer and frankly more hazardous."
Mr Thomas has also been in touch with Paul West, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for highways, and requested a meeting on site.
Developer Ben Brumby said the requirements to provide a footpath and pedestrian crossing, as well as visibility splays for access, were among a number of conditions on the site.
"We always knew it was coming as a condition of the planning permission. What is frustrating is that everyone is now saying how unnecessary it is, and does it even need to be done?"
Mr Brumby said he didn't think anyone would actually use the footpath and he would be happy if it didn't have to be built, but added: "I have never known the county council to go back on its planning conditions."
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: "The road closure is to allow for the safe work of contractors to construct access into the development, road widening and to construct a new footway from the site toward the B1113 where there are bus stops near the junction with Upper Street.
"The footway is a requirement and condition for the planning permission of the new development. This is a footway link for the new residents, and those visiting the care home opposite the site, to nearby bus stops.
"The requirement for this footway link relates to national planning policy, giving priority to pedestrian and cycle routes in the area and access to public transport routes and services. If the developer wants the footway removed, they need to seek the permission of the local planning authority."
Baylham Care Centre has been contacted for comment.