Haverhill Vision 2031 inquiry told traffic lights would be ‘horrific’

The view from Withersfield Road towards the Wratting Road junction would probably not look like this with traffic lights installed
The view from Withersfield Road towards the Wratting Road junction would probably not look like this with traffic lights installed

The prospect of having a three-way traffic lights system at the junction of Withersfield Road and Wratting Road was described as ‘horrific’ during a debate over the Haverhill north west and north east developments.

The construction of the two developments, which would bring about 3,700 hew homes to Haverhill, and at what stage of those developments the north west relief road should be completed, came under scrutiny at Thursday (Feb 6) morning’s part of the Vision 2031 public inquiry.

The inquiry learned that a planning application was already in for the north west scheme for about 1,200 homes and a concept plan was close to being approved for the north east project (called Great Wilsey Park), which would have about 2,500 homes.

Marcia Whitehead, speaking for Bidwells, agents for the landowners of the north east site and part of the north west, said their client was happy to ‘contribute financially’ to the relief road’s construction as part of the north east development.

Miss Whitehead said Bidwells believe 360 homes could be built in the north west development and between 500 and 800 in the north east before the relief road would need to be built.

Should a relief road not be built by that stage, Bidwells traffic flow expert said a three-way traffic lights system would need to go in at the junction of Withersfield Road and Wratting Road.

In response, Haverhill town clerk, Will Austin, said: “I would think at the moment the idea of traffic lights at the Cangle junction fills people with horror.”

Earlier, Mr Austin had told the inquiry: “The traffic infrastructure will not be able to cope with the additional pressures of new housing without the delivery of the new road.

“It must come forward at an early stage.”

Planning inspector Roger Clews confirmed to the inquiry that Suffolk County Council only wants to see 300 homes be completed before the relief road is built.

A proposal was also put forward by Edward Keymer, from development consultants Keymer Cavendish, to have included in the plans an extra 200 dwellings built on an area of land close to Coupals Road, land currently designated as part of the buffer zone.

The concept plan for the north east development includes a road linking the new estate to Coupals Road, it would cut through what is currently Haverhill Golf Club’s driving range.

Miss Whitehead, however, said Bidwells’ believed the road would not be necessary.

She said: “As we sit here today, work undertaken to date does not indicate the need for a third access road.”

Ian Johnson, speaking on behalf of 350 Haverhill residents, said a projected journeys to work distribution indicates that just 7.1 per cent of journeys would go in the south to south-east direction taken by the road.

He said: “In that direction there are no Haverhill schools or proposed Haverhill schools.

“There are no supermarkets or doctors surgeries or hospitals serving Haverhill in that direction or further educational establishments serving Haverhill in that direction, so there is no need for a road to go in that direction.”