Firm apologises for playing down fatality

The site of the proposed 'ghost junction' on the A1088. A yellow statutory noitice can be seen on the telephone post. ANL-150807-112432001
The site of the proposed 'ghost junction' on the A1088. A yellow statutory noitice can be seen on the telephone post. ANL-150807-112432001
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A building firm has come under fire after a representative dismissed concerns over a fatal collision on the A1088 as ‘random’ and ‘irrelevant’ during a planning meeting.

On Thursday, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Development Control Committee met to discuss controversial plans to create a ‘ghost junction’ on the A1088 near Ixworth to act as an access road to land allocated for housing as part of the council’s Rural Vision 2031 masterplan.

However, campaigners argue the turning is completely unsuitable and an ‘accident waiting to happen’.

The plans have met fierce opposition, with Borough Councillor John Griffiths and County Councillor Joanna Spicer joining Ixworth’s Parish Council and residents in objecting.

At Thursday’s meeting, resident Ben Lord told the committee of a fatal collision in 2003 where a pregnant woman was killed further up the road at a similar junction.

He said a highways consultant representing Persimmon Homes responded saying that the incident was ‘random’ and ‘irrelevant’ to the issue, drawing gasps from the room.

Mr Lord said: “There is a valid concern that they are creating the potential for a serious accident. He just tore apart my concerns.
It is about learning lessons from what has happened before - that’s the point the consultant failed to recognise.”

Martin Davidson, land director for Persimmon Homes, said: “We apologise if the comments of the highways consultant caused any distress or offence, as we are certain that was not his intent.
 “There is no doubt that the accident which claimed the life of the woman mentioned in the meeting was tragic.

“Persimmon therefore has a responsibility to provide a means of access which does not contribute to increasing the risk of such an accident occurring.”

Mr Davidson said the plans had been thoroughly assessed by the county council’s Highways Authority against ten years of accident data which recommended that a ghost turn was a safer alternative to the five-arm roundabout favoured by campaigners.

Cllr Griffiths said: “In regards to fatalities, every single one needs to be taken very seriously irrespective of when it happened. We have lost two of our residents in Ixworth in the last six months in car accidents on the A1088 and A143 so these matters are extremely important and need the careful attention of developmental control.”

The decision was deferred to a later date for more information to be gathered.