Councillor airs frustration at Suffolk Highways response to safety concerns at busy Long Melford junction
A Long Melford councillor has criticised the financial obstacles preventing safety improvements at a busy junction, after Suffolk Highways revealed a proposed feasibility scheme would cost more than £5,000.
The county council’s highways department estimated a sum of £4,786.12 would be needed to carry out a study into the five-way junction by The Black Lion, where villagers have raised worries about the volume of traffic and dangers to pedestrians.
David Chenery, safety and speed management engineer at Suffolk Highways, stated the authority would add £861.50 in costs, plus VAT, if the study is funded by a third party, such as Long Melford Parish Council.
The investigation of the junction, which links Westgate Street, The Green and Church Walk, would consider past traffic collisions, assess the current road layout, signs and markings, and survey vehicle speeds.
But Richard Kemp, parish and county councillor for Long Melford, told the Free Press he was very disappointed that Suffolk County Council would not fund the study itself, stating the estimated costs are too high for the parish to cover and would not actually result in any roadworks to improve the junction.
“It’s so frustrating as a local representative to come up against this,” he said. “Here we are, trying to make an area of road safer, and we’re having these obstacles placed in our way.
“That amount of money is not available locally for what is just a feasibility study, and I would ask that the county council comes up with schemes with its own resources. As part of our tax payments, the public have a right to expect some level of service.”
Concerns over the junction have been raised going back to the Long Melford Parish Plan, which set out suggestions for improvements.
These worries intensified earlier this year, when a man was seriously injured after being struck by a vehicle in Church Walk.