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Residents of Woodbridge make their voices heard on Suffolk County Council’s Active Travel scheme





Concerns have been raised during a council meeting attended by nearly 100 people over a swathe of planned changes to travel infrastructure.

Suffolk County Council (SCC)’s Active Travel Woodbridge scheme could close off roads to traffic, while introducing new speed limits and new cycle routes as well as footpath improvements.

The authority secured £5 million from Active Travel England in the hopes it would make the town safer and better-connected.

The meeting took place at Woodbridge Community Hall last week. Picture: Google
The meeting took place at Woodbridge Community Hall last week. Picture: Google

A consultation into the scheme opened in February, allowing residents to give their thoughts on the proposals, which was welcomed by Woodbridge Town Council.

At the town council’s annual meeting last week, mayor Eamonn O’Nolan said the authority had chatted with Suffolk County Council and expected a report into the consultation in July.

A second consultation could be rolled out during the autumn, he said, although he felt the original documents should ‘not have seen the light of day’.

The Woodbridge 20 mph zone as seen in the consultation. The areas in green would be 20mph, while the areas in orange would be 30 mph. Picture: Suffolk County Council
The Woodbridge 20 mph zone as seen in the consultation. The areas in green would be 20mph, while the areas in orange would be 30 mph. Picture: Suffolk County Council

He said about 2,280 people responded to it. The full details on the scheme can be found here.

The meeting, which attracted 99 residents, saw people express support for aspects of the scheme while condemning others.

One resident felt closing off roads with modal filters was ‘ridiculous’ but said reducing the speed limit across much of the town was a good idea.

“We have been given £5 million, so we should do something with it,” he said.

“The speed limits should slow people down and make things calmer – but we need to put this cash to good use.”

However, another resident said the proposals offered by Suffolk County Council were poor and one-sided.

He said it seemed the council regretted publishing the consultation.

He added: “When it was released, it informed the public in a one-sided way.

“There is quite a lot of concern that all of us have been put in position where we have a right to make a decision but not being given fair, even-handed and objective account of the pros and cons.”

Cllr O’Nolan said what was being offered was not a list of solutions but the authority was waiting on SCC’s report before issuing a comment.

One resident, a keen cyclist for 50 years, said many of those who get around by bicycle did not support the scheme.

He felt that closing off roads to traffic could lead to motorists seeking alternative routes down narrow or obstructed roads, which posed a danger to cyclists.

“I think this whole scheme being predicated on modal filters is ridiculous,” he added.

Another resident, who lives near Kyson Primary School, which is set to be made more pedestrian-friendly under the scheme, felt the installation of modal filters could cause chaos.

Closing off roads would lead to all traffic meeting in one place, such as Market Hill, he said.

One resident was puzzled by Woodbridge Town Council’s lack of a response to the plans.

He feared the plans would not reflect the needs of residents and urged the authority to take care and not lead the town ‘down the wrong road’.

Another resident suggested the use of modal filters should be tested temporarily before being made permanent to ensure they don’t cause chaos.

“Once they’ve [installed them], it’s too late,” he said.

He urged the council to make their voices heard on the consultation.