Twisting and turning to the slopes

SKIERS being lead on a slalom course around Wherstead may have to get used to the longer journey as plans announced today may block a popular shortcut.

SKIERS being lead on a slalom course around Wherstead may have to get used to the longer journey as plans announced today may block a popular shortcut.

Road signs directing motorists to the Suffolk Ski Centre divert them past the Oyster Reach pub to the entrance on Bourne Hill in a trade off for safety over distance. Otherwise they would have to negotiate a hazardous hairpin bend on a road of fast moving traffic.

The quickest route from Ipswich town centre is to ignore the brown tourist board signs and continue straight over the roundabout taking the left turn on the A137.

But Richard Davis, a spokesman from Suffolk County Council's highway department, said: "This entrance was never intended to be used for public access to these businesses and has not been designed for this use. Unfortunately, it has also been used as a short cut to avoid traffic queues during peak traffic flows.

As part of a larger re-signing scheme in the Wherstead area, the opportunity was taken to enhance signing to the businesses by the correct safe route. We are currently investigating the possibility of permanently closing the access off the A137."

The entrance is very difficult to see heading out of town, and cars have to slow down to a crawl to spot it then steer round its tight bend.

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And cars coming from the other direction would have to pull across the busy dual carriageway to use the unofficial gate. It would only take a driver to stall their vehicle while turning to potentially cause a major accident. A car side-on would be virtually invisible to a car racing up the hill to the A14 at night.

The diversion does not seem to affect other businesses and there are very few homes along the route.

Dan Fick, deputy manager of the Oyster Reach pub said: "We do get a few customers from the ski centre but they have their own bar and restaurant anyway so the diversion doesn't benefit us that much."

The manager of the ski centre declined to comment.

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