Villagers welcome road announcement made following HGV safety fears - but says questions remain over delivery
PUBLISHED: 15:27 03 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:37 03 October 2018
Suffolk villagers have welcomed a developer's suggestion it may build a new road ahead of schedule to address HGV concerns - but said the proof would be in its completion.
People in Wherstead had raised concerns about the “dangerous” number of lorries using The Street and its “extremely tight bend”, which was feared to worsen with the construction of new business park.
Developers, Tidal Hill Ltd, is seeking to redevelop Park Farm Barns with 24 new business units – however villagers and councillors had raised safety concerns about more large vehicles using The Street to access the site.
They had called for improvements to be made to a separate, unadopted road, connecting the site directly with the A137 to be made as soon as the project began – rather than in phase two as the developer had originally planned.
Last week, Geoff Armstrong, agent for the developers confirmed his client was “fully aware” of the concerns and were in discussions with planning officers to bring the upgrade forward to phase one.
Robin Coates, who lives in Wherstead and has held discussions with parish councillors over the concerns, said the developer’s announcement was “positive news”.
However, he sounded a note of caution over the announcement.
“I understand that this discussion has been ongoing for some time, and note that the applicants updated submission made at the beginning of September, still had the road upgrade in the second phase,” he added.
“So, whilst it is positive the discussions are taking place, it is obviously the outcome that is important and this is still in question.
“I think it is also worth noting that all parties seem to agree that the current route is unsuitable, I am therefore unsure what the applicant is seeking through the discussions to enable them to bring this aspect of the development into the first phase?”
Mr Coates also questioned why Suffolk County Council’s highways department did not carry out an investigation about the sharpe bend in The Street “despite having the issue repeatedly raised with them”.
Christopher Hudson, who represents Wherstead at Suffolk County Council said he was previously “very worried and concerned” about the safety issues and “relieved” to hear the applicant is looking to open the road sooner.
The application was due to have been determined by Babergh District Council last month.