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Battle lines drawn over the future of a cycle lane in Bury St Edmunds




Battle lines are being drawn over the future of a cycle lane.

Residents in Tollgate Lane, Bury St Edmunds, have now set up a campaign group to fight ‘existing plans’ with arguments for an alternative scheme in place.

A ‘pop-up’ cycle lane for the road was paused last month following claims it will cause parking problems, discriminate against less able residents and the elderly.

Billy Wappett and Elaine Carpenter are members of the campaign group. Picture by Mark Westley
Billy Wappett and Elaine Carpenter are members of the campaign group. Picture by Mark Westley

Suffolk County Council will now be writing to all residents in Tollgate Lane as well as the Mildenhall and Howard estates in the New Year, with exact plans.

This follows an information leaflet distributed to all residents and businesses in the town regarding the ongoing plans for the government-funded cycle lanes for Lancaster Avenue, Beetons Way, Tollgate Lane and Risbygate Street, inviting comments.

Risbygate has been completed with Looms Lane, Northgate Street and Mustow Street currently on hold. The lanes are designed to make cycling easier during the pandemic but prompted concerns they were being 'rushed through' without proper consultation.

Jill Woodward says the lanes are also discriminatory. Picture by Mecha Morton
Jill Woodward says the lanes are also discriminatory. Picture by Mecha Morton

“We have held Zoom meetings, written to all the nearby schools and, while socially distanced, spoken to cyclists and residents. We believe from our findings that the current plans are not going to work,” said group founder, Jill Woodward.

We are hoping that the council will see this before they waste money by implementing it and then have to remove it.

"It will cause chaos.”

Cllr Diane Hind, who is assisting the group of six members, said: “We awaitthe promised letter from the county council.

"The campaign group is not opposed to cycle lanes, it is just their precise location that is causing concern and have made alternative suggestions for their road.

"I have always said that a full consultation with residents is the way forward, so that views both for and against could be heard.

"I’m hoping the letter will be that consultation, and not just a pre cursor to implementation."

A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said: “Following feedback we will be contacting local residents, businesses, schools and colleges in the new year with our proposals for a trial to make it safer and easier for members of the public to walk and cycle in the North West of Bury St Edmunds.

"Feedback on the proposals will be requested and taken into consideration when deciding whether we will move forward with any of the schemes.”

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