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‘Chicane idea is no good for Benton Street’

Residents are unhappy about the traffic on Benton Street, Hadleigh ANL-150630-141721009
Residents are unhappy about the traffic on Benton Street, Hadleigh ANL-150630-141721009

A councillor in Hadleigh has said she is unhappy with measures being put in to try to alleviate traffic.

Benton Street is synonymous with traffic problems in the town, and is the main route to and from the A12.

Earlier in the year residents met to protest and ask Suffolk County Council for measures to stop the problems, which regularly sees parked cars damaged and vehicles driving up onto the pavement.

Hadleigh town councillor Sue Monks says the situation will lead to serious injury or a fatality unless something is done, however, she has been left disappointed by the council’s plans for the road.

It is likely that a chicane will be put in, blocking traffic on one side.

Mrs Monks says this will just cause a bottleneck and lead to grid-lock in busy periods.

Claiming there was widespread opposition to the council’s plans, she said: “We are not happy with it but we have been told it’s pretty much a chicane or nothing.”

The town council was told that several ideas had been looked at, including block paving, building a roundabout and even a one-way system, as well as the chicane option.

It could be that the chicane is a temporary structure, that could be moved to assess success in different stretches of the road.

Any trial is likely to be carried out in early spring next year.

Mrs Monks said: “We believe the chicane will be the one and they want an 18-month trial.

“We feel more needs to be looked at. You can’t put a sticking plaster on a gaping wound.”

She is now carrying our her own research to find alternative ideas.

“I think there’s got to be a better way,” she said. “I need people’s ideas.”

“My concern is Hadleigh is growing. It is just the volume of traffic that comes through the road.”

She admitted there was no easy solution, with essential parking on the road not helping the problem.

“We need to look at the overall problem and how Hadleigh is growing and what the future population will be,” she said. “We need a long term plan for the street.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council Highways said: “We recognise the problems caused by vehicles driving on the pavement and we are continuing to develop a scheme that will address this.

“Obtaining the support of local community is important to us and we will continue to discuss issues with local residents.”

A sign has recently been put up on the A12 to warn lorry drivers that Benton Street has a strict weight limit.

However Mrs Monks said that there were still unsuitably large vehicles using the road as a means of getting into the town centre and to the industrial estates the other side of the town.

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