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Legal dispute over ‘12 inches of land’ halts £14million A14/Moreton Hall relief road for Bury St Edmunds

PUBLISHED: 09:13 31 July 2017

The new Eastern Relief Road between Bury St Edmunds and Moreton Hall. Picture: SCC

The new Eastern Relief Road between Bury St Edmunds and Moreton Hall. Picture: SCC

Archant

A legal dispute over “12 inches of land” has halted construction of a “vital” £15miilion Bury St Edmunds relief road, it has been claimed.

The Eastern Relief Road is vital to the delivery of a business park, which will bring 14,000 jobs to the town, and is due to complete in September.

Construction of the project is well advanced, with a 40mph limit on the A14 at junction 45, Rougham, for many months.

However, this newspaper has learnt the contractors for Suffolk County Council have had to down tools after a legal dispute over “12 inches of land” on a verge in the Sow Lane area.

The road, which connects the edge of the Moreton Hall estate to junction 45, is part of a joint project between the county and St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

Borough councillor Frank Warby, who represents Moreton Hall, said: “This is a vital road, a very important project for the town.

“It is all over 12 inches of land, it is ridiculous really. I really hope they sort it out quickly as it needs to be completed.”

The county council highways department would not confirm or deny whether a land dispute had or is taking place.

They said they remain committed to delivering the road by the September deadline.

The project was plagued with lengthy delays over land negotiations before it even got started, with the borough council authorising but never using compulsory purchase powers.

The main landowner is Rougham Estates. However, Melvin Cocksedge, from the estate office, said they are not the landowner in dispute with the council.

“It is in our interest that the road is completed – we are not holding the road up,” he said. “It is nothing to do with Rougham Estates.”

The latest statement on the relief road project website states that they have had to delay the reopening of Sow Lane due to a “redesign” of the northern roundabout.

They have submitted a planning application for the changes, which involves additional noise mitigation. The application was granted permission.

The 114 acre business park, which cannot go ahead before the road completes, is being managed by Jaynic properties and was granted outline permission in April.

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