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Frustration over Mildenhall Hub entrance after suggested changes by independent consultant ‘ignored’





Frustrations have been raised that suggested changes by an independent consultant to a public service hub entrance have so far been ‘ignored’.

Coaches and wide vehicles struggle to get in and out of the Mildenhall Hub’s Sheldrick Way entrance when there is oncoming traffic and often have to mount the footpath.

West Suffolk Council appointed an independent consultant to look into the issue and they recommended widening the entrance to the hub, which is home to Mildenhall College Academy, a police station and leisure centre among others.

West Suffolk district councillors Andy Neal and Ian Shipp at the Mildenhall Hub entrance. Picture: Cameron Reid
West Suffolk district councillors Andy Neal and Ian Shipp at the Mildenhall Hub entrance. Picture: Cameron Reid

However, West Suffolk district Cllr Andy Neal said Suffolk Highways, which manages the hub junction at the point it connects with West Row Road and Queensway, had not supported the recommendation.

Concerns regarding the issue have recently increased with plans submitted by Suffolk County Council (SCC), to turn 100ha of arable farmland off West Row Road into a mixed-use new neighbourhood including up to 1,000 homes.

Cllr Neal, who represents the Queensway ward in Mildenhall, voiced his disappointment.

“It infuriates me to think a location like the hub entrance can have so much wrong about it by design,” he said.

“It's madness that a consultant acting on behalf of West Suffolk Council provided recommendations that would improve the safety of people yet they are all ignored and dismissed.

“It should be obvious the entrance needs adjusting and the people that design and make decisions like these need to be held accountable for future accidents that certainly will happen - it’s completely unacceptable.

“Children's safety is not a bargaining chip to be used for a developer's benefit and it is just extremely disappointing.”

School buses struggle to get in and out of the entrance in Sheldrick Way when there is oncoming traffic. Picture: Cameron Reid
School buses struggle to get in and out of the entrance in Sheldrick Way when there is oncoming traffic. Picture: Cameron Reid

District Cllr Ian Shipp, who is also mayor of Mildenhall, said it was a disgrace the issues have been ignored so far and people’s safety should be a priority over budgets.

Cllr Neal said SCC has also ignored suggestions for traffic calming and speed controlling measures, as well as a raised crossing and new crossing along the road.

He said the recommendations that were made several months ago should be implemented as soon as possible but SCC wishes to make the changes on the condition the 1,000 homes development gains approval.

The Mildenhall Hub opened in September 2021. Picture: Cameron Reid
The Mildenhall Hub opened in September 2021. Picture: Cameron Reid

A spokesperson for Suffolk Highways said: “Priority should be given to pedestrians and cyclists in line with local and national planning policy.

“The current junction and road width encourages vehicles to move slower, improving safety of those using the crossing point.

“The proposal to increase the width of the junction will have the opposite effect and thus increase chances of collision with pedestrians and cyclists.

“Consideration will be given to the crossing at Comet Way when the Mildenhall application proposals are reviewed.”