Highways chiefs fear 'severe impact' of 1,375-home plans

The proposed masterplan for Great Barton which would see up to 1,375 new homes built on agricultural

The proposed masterplan for Great Barton which would see up to 1,375 new homes built on agricultural land. Picture: ST JOSEPH - Credit: St Joseph

An independent inspector will decide whether 1,375 new homes will be built on the edge of a Suffolk town amid concerns the development could have a "severe impact" on the road network.

Both Suffolk Highways and National Highways have objected to current designs - and say the volume of traffic generated by the project could affect local roads and the A14.

Developer St Joseph Homes Ltd has been negotiating over a solution for two years and offered mitigation action but has now called a halt to the talks - and lodged an appeal over the non-determination of its planning application.

The company wants to build 1,375 new homes on farmland northeast of Bury St Edmunds off Bury Road, Great Barton.

The 194-acre site is immediately north of the Moreton Hall estate, across the rail line.

The project would include 413 affordable homes, new primary school, community centre and shops/businesses.

The principle of development has already been established with the site included in the local plan but its impact on the road network has proved contentious.

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Highways say two roundabouts onto the A143 for access to the estate, new foot and cycleway links, and cycle/pedestrian crossings, do not go far enough. They believe more measures are needed to solve potential congestion and knock-on impacts on the A14 at certain junctions.

They conclude it could have a "severe impact" on road safety grounds.

Talks have centred on a new footbridge over the railway line at the Cattishall crossing, measures to address excessive traffic on East Barton Road, changes to the Northgate roundabout to widen the Compiegne Way approach, and junction improvements at the A143/Fornham Road.

West Suffolk Council's development control committee will discuss the plans on June 1. Because of the appeal, councillors cannot now make a decision - but officers say they would be recommending refusal, and, if councillors agree, this would be their stance at appeal.

In a report, planning case officer Julie Barrow said: "The applicant has provisionally agreed a package of highway mitigation measures in order to address the highway impacts of the scheme, however, the local highway authority do not consider that the package is sufficient to fully mitigate the impacts of the development and as such both the local highway authority and National Highways object to the application."

St Joseph Homes says its aim is to "provide for the delivery of a high-quality, comprehensively planned urban extension to Bury St Edmunds which will bear the hallmarks of quality, sustainability and placemaking".