Call to finish a Haverhill relief road before work starts on 2,500 homes

This aerial view shows the Great Wisley Park site outlined in red and the north west relief road in orange
This aerial view shows the Great Wisley Park site outlined in red and the north west relief road in orange

A councillor has called for work on a 2,500 home development to be delayed until a relief road is completed.

Ward councillor John Burns last week called on St Edmundsbury’s Development Control Committee to defer a giving outline planning permission for the Great Wisley Park development north east of Haverhill until Suffolk Highways provided data on its impact on the town’s roads.

Proposed development site at Great Wilsey Park

Proposed development site at Great Wilsey Park

The committee voted to grant outline planning permission but Cllr Burns believes the potential impact of this site and another for 1,150 homes on the western side of the A143 have not been properly considered.

He hopes detailed planning permission will look at that and the siting of an access road on Chalkstone Way.

He said on Monday that the problem was that a north-west relief road was being regarded as part of the smaller north western development.

“There’s already a legal agreement for the north west site so we can’t change that,” he said. “What we should have done is said nothing goes on the north east site until the relief road is completed.

“You could then send all the development traffic along it.”

The Vision 2031 borough plan says of the north west site: “If planning application(s) to develop all or part of the site come forward in advance of the provision of the north-west relief road, permission will not be granted unless it is demonstrated that the transport impacts can be satisfactorily mitigated.”

Cllr Burns stressed that the north east site’s land owner and developer had done a good job of talking to local people and working with them but he felt Suffolk Highways were not doing the same.

He said: “The Haverhill Vision 2031 document has all the [housing] plans listed in it – it’s the masterplan for the town and these organisations should be looking at it and asking what’s the accumulative impact of these developments.”

He fears greater congestion on the A143 and A1307 and points out that at Withersfield Road levels of oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) are at 38.3 micrograms per cubic metre against an allowable level of 40, with a newly installed monitor showing slightly higher levels.

Cllr Burns said: “Any increase in traffic, which will be the case if construction is allowed to start before the NW relief road is built, are likely to push those levels way above the legal maximum and probably halting all construction.”

The outline permission includes two local centres and a health centre site.