Final attempt to solve HGV frustration after four-year battle
- Credit: Archant
Councillors have agreed to a last ditch attempt to resolve problems of lorry movements that have been disrupting a Bury St Edmunds estate for nearly four years.
Independent councillor for Moreton Hall, Trevor Beckwith, said that since the Eastern Relief Road and improved A14 junction 45 opened in September 2017, HGV traffic in residential streets around Orttewell Road, Bedingfeld Way and Skyliner Way had increased to unacceptable levels, causing vibration, noise and air pollution from 5.30am onwards.
Attempts to resolve the matter directly with Suffolk County Council have not been successful, and Mr Beckwith has pursued the issue with the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, as well as conversations with Highways England for improved directional signs on the junction, which is ongoing.
On Thursday, Mr Beckwith issued a plea to West Suffolk Council's scrutiny committee through its 'councillor call for action' process - effectively a mechanism for councillors to seek help on an issue as a last resort
The committee has agreed to look at the issue, which is likely to be debated at its July 8 meeting.
Mr Beckwith said: "The construction of the Eastern Relief Road was a joint venture between Suffolk County Council, the then St Edmundsbury Borough Council and the LEP to provide access to the huge expansion of Suffolk Park and Suffolk Business Park.
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"Additionally Junction 45 of the A14 trunk road underwent a major upgrade to improve access to the new road.
"The project cost was estimated at £15million but with an overspend of £4.8m. It is important to note that much of the overspend was to comply with Highways England requirements of Junction 45 of the A14.
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"The business parks include massive warehouses and distribution centres which generate increasing number of HGV movements.
"Unfortunately the HGV increases adversely impact on several residential areas of the Moreton Hall estate despite the junction upgrade, which was upgraded to provide access to the business park.
"This is a reputational issue - the reputation of the county council, the district council and everybody involved in this is at stake.
"A lot of people that live along Moreton Hall regard the upgrade to the junction and indeed the road as a bit of a white elephant. It doesn't have to be like that, it could be resolved. I have spent three years trying to resolve it, unsuccessfully so far."
It is understood the residents' association and leaders of the business parks are willing to be involved in the committee's investigation, while it is also hoped that county council highways officers will be present.
Councillor Cliff Waterman said there was "a high level of frustration among residents" while scrutiny committee chairman Ian Shipp added: "I think Trevor has done an amazing amount of work and an amazing amount of patience on this. It is his last port of call, and I do think we do need to make sure that we take these seriously, listen, and do what we can."