Councillors remain resolute on Bury St Edmunds cycle scheme
Councillors have remained resolute over plans to have new cycle lanes put in place across Bury St Edmunds , despite a backlash from residents in one part of the town.
It is hoped the temporary cycle lanes will further encourage residents to engage in ‘active travel’ – walking or cycling – which became more popular during lockdown.
But in one part of the town, the Tollgate Lane area, plans have been met by some with concern, including residents who said the proposed closures to specific roads as part of the scheme would create more traffic.
Billy Wappett, who lives in Tollgate Lane, voiced his anger over Suffolk County Council’s plans to close the junction at Lancaster Avenue and Tollgate Lane from next Tuesday.
“All the traffic that comes out of that junction is now going to have to go around the estate to get off it, so on the estate, it’s already overcrowded,” he said.
“It just doesn’t make any sense at all.”
A petition was set up by Andrew Curry to stop the closure of the junction, and as of Wednesday had received 127 signatures from residents.
It follows concerns previously raised by West Suffolk Councillor Diane Hinds over the planned closure of the Philip Road and Tollgate Lane junction.
Councillors and council staff have defended the schemes, saying their purpose was to prevent pollution by reducing vehicle traffic, and to encourage people to get active.
David Nettleton, West Suffolk councillor for Tollgate Ward, said: “At the moment we’ve got dirty air, we’ve got Tollgate Primary School there, and we’ve got two schools here, therefore we’ve got poor air quality in the area.”
Calum Poole, senior transport planner for Suffolk County Council, said: “The whole idea is to create quieter neighbourhoods and safer areas for residents.
“We selected Lancaster Avenue because it’s close to the primary school, so there’s going to be a lot of footfall there with children going to school.
“There’s good evidence to suggest that traffic dissipates, and overall traffic levels drop because cars no longer run through the estate.”
Cllr Robert Everitt, chair of the resident-run Air Quality Group, said the group was trying to tackle some of the air quality issues faced in the area, and that the cycle scheme was a positive contribution toward that.