Row erupts over ‘diabolically unsafe’ junction on A1088 in Ixworth

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

Campaigners are rallying against a proposed ‘ghost junction’ on the A1088 in Ixworth saying if plans go through the area could become an accident blackspot.

Proposals have been put forward for a new access road to link the A1088 to an area of land allocated for 90 homes as part of St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Rural Vision 2031 masterplan.

But the scheme has met fierce opposition with County Councillor Jo Spicer, Borough Councilor John Griffiths and Ixworth Parish Council as well as local residents objecting to the plans.

Ben Lord, who lives nearby, said the planned junction was completely unsuitable

He said: “The ghost junction means you go into the middle of the road before making a commitment to pull out.

“With the roundabout just 100 metres away it will be diabolically unsafe.
“This could become a notorious accident blackspot.”

Ben also said he was dismayed with how the process had been carried out, with the borough council’s yellow statutory notices being placed on lampposts along the fast moving stretch of road.

“We had 25 residents come out to a meeting last Thursday. What was alarming was the number who had no idea this was going on which is down to the inadequate position of these notices”, he said.

Cllr John Griffiths echoed Mr Lord’s concerns in his objections to the plan.

“As the local Ward member, I have to say that the more I look into this application, and also the process involved in how it has apparently got to where it is, the more very serious concerns I have on a number of fronts. Moreover, like me, few people in my Ward have been aware of this until very recently - which surely can not be as it should be.”

“Please take this as my strongest possible objection both to the application as is, and to the manner and process it seems to have involved so far,” he added.

Cllr Spicer said the access road plans were ‘quite unsuitable’ in her view.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council defended the plans saying they met national safety standards.

She said: “Road safety is a priority for the county council. Both technical engineering standards and national studies of performance at similar junctions are used to determine whether proposals are safe and appropriate.

“In this case the county council also looked at records relating to accidents in the vicinity of this development from the last ten years and there have been no fatal collisions recorded in that period.

“The local and national accident data evaluated also shows significantly more accidents at five arm roundabouts than at four arm junctions. The proposal for a ghost junction also meets national standards in respect of visibility and its relationship with other junctions.

“It is this assessment of the current and previous applications which leads the county council to recommend that a right turn junction is a safer option for Ixworth than an increase in the number of arms on the current roundabout.”

A spokesman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: “By law we must display a site notice on or near the land concerned or write to any adjoining owner or occupier. W

“We have done both, as we usually do, plus we have displayed an easily accessible notice on a lamppost in nearby Thistledown Drive as well.

“Full details of the application are also on our website.”

Martin Davidson, land director for Persimmon Homes Anglia, which submitted the plans for the site access, said: “Detailed proposals have been submitted by Persimmon for a site access onto A1088 Thetford Road, Ixworth, to facilitate the development of land allocated for residential use in the St Edmundsbury Local Plan document, Rural Vision 2013.

“We are aware of local concern to this proposal, in that the Masterplan for the site indicated access to be taken from an enlarged roundabout of the A143.

“However, such access has been refused consent by the Borough Council on recommendation of the County Council, whose preference is for the junction as now proposed.

“Persimmon Anglia is actively liaising with interested parties to seek a mutually-acceptable solution to this issue, and is currently also preparing detailed proposals for Phase 1 of the site, comprising approximately 90 homes on land owned by the company.”