Proposals for a controversial ‘ghost’ junction on the A1088 at Ixworth have been rejected by the borough council after the project was labelled ‘a muddle’.
Plans for the right-hand turning, submitted by developer Persimmon Homes Anglia, aimed to provide access to land which has been earmarked for housing development as part of the Rural Vision 2031 masterplan.
But St Edmundsbury borough council’s development control committee members refused the plans at a meeting last Thursday, prompting the developer to start preparing for an appeal.
Gerry Bullard, representing Persimmon, said the proposal had been assessed against ten years worth of accident data and that a weekday speed survey had recently been carried out at the site.
He said the eastbound morning peak-time average speed was around 46mph and westbound was around 42mph.
However, Cllr Jim Thorndyke said when he drove down the road at peak time, it was often very slow going.
“If 46mph is the average I shudder to think the speeds people will do to bring it up to that mark.”
County councillor Jo Spicer said aside from road safety concerns, which she said were significant, it was hugely difficult to approve any road scheme without knowing how many homes would be built.
“It has created a real muddle,” she said. “How many homes is this access road going to serve? You need to work out whether it is 70, 150, 470 homes – then you can work out the safest access road.”
Cllr Spicer joined resident campaigners in arguing the option of creating a fifth arm on the nearby roundabout would best serve a future development at the site.
Cllr John Griffiths echoed Cllr Spicer’s views, saying there was ‘a whole bundle of issues to consider before even considering this application’.
Ben Lord, who has campaigned against the plans on behalf of residents in Ixworth, said he was delighted with the council’s decision.
He said: “We hope now that a reasonable and common sense approach can be applied better evaluating the delivery of a five-arm roundabout, which remains the sole option for Ixworth.”
Martin Davidson, land director for Persimmon Homes Anglia, said: “We are bitterly disappointed that the development control committee at St Edmundsbury Borough Council rejected plans for a right turn ghost island junction, despite Suffolk County Council Highways Authority recommending it for approval.
“The Persimmon Anglia proposal was thoroughly assessed by SCC Highways Authority against 10 years’ worth of accident records which demonstrate that the frequency of accidents is higher for a five-arm roundabout than for a right turn ghost island junction.
“The authority therefore recommended it be approved as it provides for a safer means of access than a five-arm roundabout.
“As such, we will be appealing the decision which we believe to be unreasonable without regard to the technical evidence and the advice of officers, and we are currently in the process of preparing said appeal.”