Villagers bring traffic to a standstill

EFFORTS to deliberately cause traffic chaos in Suffolk village have proved the area could not cope with proposed road alterations, it has been claimed today.

EFFORTS to deliberately cause traffic chaos in Suffolk village have proved the area could not cope with proposed road alterations, it has been claimed today.

Residents opposing a £120,000 road project in the village of Combs Ford on the outskirts of Stowmarket, brought roads to a standstill for just a few minutes on Saturday to show how the proposed changes would affect traffic flow.

Police closed the roads while a bus drove backwards through the one-way system.

Suffolk County Council is planning to reverse the system, which partly circles the Esso garage, as part of its plans.

It also wants to narrow Needham Road, reduce a section of Needham Road to one lane, replace the two-way carriageway on Ipswich Road to a single, one-way road and add a combined cycle and footpath.

Residents fear the alterations will cause congestion and pollution and claim they were not consulted properly before the scheme was given the go-ahead.

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Saturday's experiment resulted in the bus struggling with the tight corner at Boulters Bridge. It had to overhang the path, potentially endangering pedestrians.

Some congestion was also clear as a car was deliberately parked at the site in Needham Road where it will be reduced to one lane.

Phil Shepherd, chairman of the Lavenham Park Community Association (LPCA), said: "We hope the transport authority will reflect and realise this is not practical and that it's an unnecessary cost.

"This will create more chaos than it will relieve."

A public meeting called by angry residents last month was attended by more than 200 people.

Patsy Stammers, from the LPCA, said: "We don't want to put egg on anyone's face or say "I told you so" but just prove what they are suggesting is ridiculous."

David Osborne, owner of the Esso garage, says the site of the proposed exit for the garage is dangerous for large vehicles, and they will be forced to go round the narrow roads so they are facing the right way for filling up.

He has just spent £1,000 on making the garage forecourt one-way to improve safety.

More than 200 customers have signed a petition against the plans.

Guy McGregor, Suffolk County councillor opposing the changes, said: "The real issue is people feel there has been a lack of consultation.

"Stowmarket is still suffering because of the delay in building the B1115 relief road. The whole thing strikes me as shambolic."

Suffolk County Council says residents were consulted in the usual fashion - with exhibitions and letters.

However, it has now agreed to revise the proposals.

Do you think the proposed changes will create chaos? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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