‘Traffic chaos to get worse with more homes’ warns councillor

Residents are unhappy about the traffic on Benton Street, Hadleigh ANL-150630-141800009
Residents are unhappy about the traffic on Benton Street, Hadleigh ANL-150630-141800009

A town councillor has warned that further development of Hadleigh could be disastrous if traffic issues on one of the main exit routes are not sorted out.

Residents in Benton Street say they are fed up with finding their cars scratched or wing mirrors knocked, and regularly see traffic jammed up along the road.

Hadleigh town councillor and Benton Street resident Sue Monks said people had even been hit by passing cars.

“Pedestrians get knocked all the time and arms get hit by wing mirrors. It is dangerous. It is a serious issue,” she said.

She said on one part of the street where there is a narrow chicane the whole road becomes blocked, with lorries and buses forced to mount the kerb to get through.

“It happens every single day, it gets absolutely grid locked,” she said. “People who live here know it’s chaos.”

She said that drivers who were not local find it particularly difficult to navigate, causing heavy build ups as cars from both sides of the road attempt to get past parked vehicles.

Mrs Monks warned that unless the situation was sorted out soon by Suffolk County Council it would only get worse.

“It’s always been like it and with increase in traffic it’s got worse,” she said. “Traffic will only increase with more houses, and more cars trying to get to and from the A12.”

She realises there is no ‘quick fix’ but warned it needed to be solved before somebody was seriously hurt.

So bad is the situation that a group of residents have set up the Benton Street Interest Group.

The councillor added: “It’s very difficult to get anyone to do anything as there is no easy solution and it would cost money. People don’t want to address the situation.”

There is some hope with James Finch, Suffolk County Council’s new cabinet member for highways and transport, promising to visit and see the problems for himself.

“Until you see it it’s very difficult to understand,” said Mrs Monks.

A spokesman for the county council said: “We have instructed our contractors to develop an experimental design.

“Prior to any installation we will carry out a consultation with local residents.”

Suffolk County Council did come up with plans for a solution last year, when it was announced a temporary chicane was to be put in, but residents complained that there had been no consultation and the chicane idea was dropped.

“It would have been a waste of money and time,” said Mrs Monks.

“We would have had to deal with a bigger problem.”

Mrs Monks admitted she was unsure what the best solution was, with some suggestions of a one-way system.

Something she would like to see implemented is the enforcement of the weight restriction on the road.

Despite being denied access, heavy good vehicles often use the road to get to and from Hadleigh’s industrial estate and the A12.

The fight is now on for action, with Mrs Monks saying she and fellow interest group members unwilling to let the case rest.

“We’ve got to say ‘we are not going away, you have to listen to us and address the problems’,” she said.