Relief road has ‘wrecked rural life’ says hamlet

Mary Stamp and her neighbours Karal Wright, Christine Wright and Karen Shulber who are angry over relief road work 
Picture Mark Westley
Mary Stamp and her neighbours Karal Wright, Christine Wright and Karen Shulber who are angry over relief road work Picture Mark Westley

Residents of a tiny hamlet beside the new Bury St Edmunds relief road say their rural life has been ruined by the work and will change forever.

Residents of what they call The Battlies and Suffolk County Council calls Sow Lane have joined businesses on Rougham Industrial Estate in condemning the way the project has been run, complaining of a year of inconvenience, worry, noise and moving finish dates.

Mary Stamp, whose home is beside a new Sow Lane roundabout, said: “When we looked at the original plan for the relief road it was quite a way from this hamlet so it wouldn’t have had the same impact – now it’s much closer because they didn’t own the land.

“Our lovely rural life has been completely wrecked. We won’t be able to sit in the garden and listen to the birds anymore.

“To call it a relief road is a farce because with the amount of traffic that will be generated by the development along it, it’s going to be the status quo.”

But she is also angry at what she sees as the lack of consideration for people who live there. She and neighbour Christine Wright complain of increased traffic and noise and say their homes suffered strong vibration during groundworks.

Mrs Stamp, who is 68 and whose husband Ronald is ill, is worried any damage it did to their homes will take time to come out and make it difficult to prove who was to blame.

She added: “We’ve got cracks in our stone floors and walls, but you didn’t take pictures of it beforehand so you have no proof they’re new.”

She is also concerned for pedestrian and cyclist safety because the path and cycleway along the relief road end at Sow Lane, though she feels there is room opposite their houses for a pathway.

Mrs Wright said inadequate signs had been a problem from the beginning.

She added: “Earlier this year, while the adjacent junction at the A14 was closed, inadequate signage cause confusion and meant that drivers of container lorries, car transporters and many delivery vehicles tried to use Sow Lane to access the industrial estate.

“Drivers insisted they could get through and residents were subjected to threats and verbal abuse.”

She says drives and gardens were damaged and she had to complain to the contractors Breheny to put up a ‘no access to industrial estate’ sign.

She says workers also managed to sever her power and phone lines with no explanation or apology given.

She feels the whole project has been ‘bodged’ and the new roundabout is ‘crammed into a totally inadequate space’.

Meanwhile the extra traffic has damaged Mount Lane and she says they are told it will not be repaired until after the reliefg road is finished.

She added: “This project has taken over a year and there is still no end in sight. We and all the other residents cannot wait for the day when Breheny’s and Suffolk County Council leave this site and leave us in peace.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “We acknowledge the concerns of those on Sow Lane and on top of the standard road closed and diversion signs have additional signs in place saying the road is for residents only.

“Once complete, the Eastern Relief Road will unlock significant economic growth opportunities for new and existing businesses to benefit from, as well as supporting the future development homes and improving access to education and community services.

“Once this project is complete and before we leave site we will make sure any damage on Sow Lane will be made good and we thank residents for their patience while we have worked to complete this important piece of infrastructure.”