Road upgrade revised after villagers raise HGV safety concerns

An HGV attempts to negotiate a tight bend in The Street, Wherstead Picture: CONTRIBUTED

An HGV attempts to negotiate a tight bend in The Street, Wherstead Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Contributed

A vital new road could be opened ahead of schedule after Suffolk villagers raised concerns about the dangers of many HGVs using a narrow country lane.

People in Wherstead, near Ipswich, say growing numbers of lorries have been travelling along The Street, with many finding its “extremely tight bend” difficult to negotiate, posing safety risks.

Faced with the prospect of the nearby Park Farm Barns being redeveloped into 24 new business units, residents and councillors were concerned the already dangerous situation could reach crisis point.

A number of objections lodged with Babergh District Council highlighted concerns about the unsuitability of the existing roads to accommodate large vehicles. Wherstead Parish Council also raised concerns the current access roads will “not be able to manage increased volumes of traffic both during and after construction”.

Developers, Tidal Hill Ltd, had proposed to upgrade a currently unadopted road, which connects the A137 with site. However it was originally scheduled to take place in phase two of the project, which people in the village said would be too late.

Faced with growing concern about the potential highways, developers are now holding discussions with council planners.

Geoff Armstrong, agent for the applicant, said: “My client is fully aware of these comments made by local residents, as are the council, and we are in discussions with the planning officers to agree a revised phasing for the delivery of the upgraded road linked to phase 1 of the proposed scheme.”

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Christopher Hudson, who represents Wherstead at Suffolk County Council said: “I was originally very worried and concerned about the safety issues posed by these massive articulated lorries using the narrow lane.

“However, I am relieved to hear the applicant is looking to open the road sooner.”

The application has faced other concerns over its size and encroachment into the countryside. However the applicant’s design and access statement says the site is close to Ipswich and well placed for access to key transport routes, the A12 and A14.

It says the site is a natural extension of the existing Peninsula and Wherstead Park Business Centres and will “offer an attractive place to work and for businesses to thrive”.

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