Beccles Southern Relief Road Report of meeting of 4th March 2019 at Ringsfield Village Hall
I write to provide a report of a meeting that I chaired on Monday 4th March to look at the impact of the Beccles Southern Relief Road some six months after it opened; to assess the impact of the road, as to what problems may have arisen and what needs to be done to ensure that the road brings maximum benefits and minimum knock on negative impacts to both Beccles and the surrounding villages.
Those who attended the meeting included County, District, Town and Parish Councillors, as well as representatives of the Beccles Society and the Beccles Road Safety Group.
Officers from the Highways Department at Suffolk County Council were in attendance to listen to party’s views and concerns, to advise the meeting of their assessment of the position and their plans to address the concerns that were raised.
Generally the meeting welcomed the construction and opening of the Beccles Southern Relief Road, but there was a view that ongoing work is required to ensure that it produces the maximum benefit to Beccles and the surrounding villages and any unintended consequences are addressed. These include the use of unsuitable rural roads leading to and from the relief road.
The following issues were discussed:-
1) Suffolk County Council have put up a number of signs directing traffic to and from the relief road, but more are needed. The Beccles Society and the Beccles Road Safety Group have produced a schedule of recommended signs, which Suffolk County Council will consider in full.
It was specifically highlighted that signs are required on main roads such as the A143 at Homersfield and the A12 at Henstead and Blythburgh so as to encourage heavy goods vehicles to keep to the main roads and not to use inappropriate rural roads to get to Beccles.
2) There has been an increased use, with damage to road surfaces and verges, of a number of minor roads in the area. These include School Road and Church Road in Ringsfield, Top Road in Ilketshall St Andrew and Rectory Lane in Worlingham.
3) While some roads in Beccles are noticeably quieter, further work is required so as to ensure that the relief road realises its full potential for the benefit of those living and working in the town. Various suggestions as to how to achieve this were raised, including updating the recommended the HGV route, speed reduction and weight restriction measures, 20mph zones, environmental enhancement in works in and around the Town Centre and the use of Experimental Traffic Orders to gauge the impact of specific measures prior to their full introduction.
4) Suffolk County Council took on board this feedback and advised that a comprehensive traffic survey will take place in late March/ early April which will ascertain how traffic movements have changed as a result of the relief road and what measures should be considered so as to take account of the local communities views and concerns.
It was agreed that another meeting would take place in late May/ early June to consider the findings of the survey and to agree a way forward.
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