Closure of Potters Bridge on B1127 near Southwold 'could be a case of life and death', resident claims
Delays caused by the closure of a bridge in Suffolk could be 'a case of life and death' for those needing the emergency services, according to a Southwold resident.
Potters Bridge, on the B1127, which runs between Southwold and Wrentham, has been closed for repairs to help alleviate flooding issues in the area.
John Huggins, who has been campaigning on the issue, believes that the delays caused could lead to severe consequences.
"It has been an issue that has gone on for years, but nothing as severe as it has been in the last 12 months," he said.
"It is not great and delaying the emergency services is obviously worse and could be a case of life and death.
"It has been closed for nearly a month and up until now there has been no sign of it reopening."
The issues involving flooding at the bridge involve the tidal flow of water, as the outflow gets backed over time.
Diversions are currently in place while repairs are undertaken, with motorists being diverted through Wangford and onto the A12.
A spokesperson for Suffolk Highways said essential repairs are needed before the road can reopen.
"Earlier this month, Suffolk Highways was instructed to install an urgent road closure, due to road damage caused by extensive tidal flooding, which cannot be seen through flooded water," they said.
"The road closure is in place to support the Environment Agency and further prevent additional damage to their assets beneath the carriageway.
"Repairs must be completed to both the drainage valves and the road before the closure can be removed."
The spokesperson added that although regular inspections are being undertaken, there is no time scale in place for a reopening.
Mr Huggins is now hoping for a permanent solution to the issue, as he says it will continue to flood should a long-term plan not be put in place.
As part of his efforts to see the problem solved, Mr Huggins has been urging his fellow constituents to email Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey.
When approached for comment on the matter, Ms Coffey said: “I am aware that this has been an ongoing issue on this particular road for several years and I have previously raised concerns with Suffolk County Council and the Environment Agency.
"I understand that the Environment Agency has not been able to access the land near Potters Bridge to undertake remedial action.
"I visited the area recently to have a look for myself and have talked to local councillors who have been involved in seeking a resolution.
"I encourage the County Council to proactively take this up and resolve it.”
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency added: “We work with Natural England to control water levels on Easton Broad, to reduce flooding on the B1127 by draining the water and to help protect the wetland for breeding birds.
“People should know their flood risk and sign up for free flood warnings by going to https://www.gov.uk/check-flood-risk or calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188.
"You can also follow @EnvAgencyAnglia on Twitter for the latest flood updates."