Small Successes – Benton Street

Every now and then, there is an alignment of ambition and actuality.
One recent example of this is the provision of a disabled parking place in Benton Street, which for some time has been on Benton Streetmy list of things to be achieved. The need for the place is based upon the changed (health) circumstances of  one of the residents.
When I was in Hadleigh recently I heard that a Town Councillor (who is also a resident of Benton Street) had commented that the resident was not that disabled as he exercises a dog! What claptrap! Pure politics of envy! The dog is small and walking the dog is doubtless recommended exercise for the resident, who has good days and not so good days – hence the need for a disabled parking place.

Benton Street

Benton Street 1108301610Recently I attended a meeting organised by Hadleigh Town Council for the residents of Benton Street to discuss the possibilities of alleviating some of the traffic problems. Quite early in the evening it became obvious that the residents rejected the idea of single lane traffic enforced by a build out and wished for more long term solutions. The build out equipment will now be trialled elsewhere to solve similar problems and we can then see if it is effective and possibly suitable for a revisit in the context of a pilot scheme for Benton Street. Suffolk Highways will be looking at other suggested options but initially this will probably be a desk exercise based on anticipated costs, ease of implementation, likely timescales and expected availability of funding. There are no quick fixes. The Beccles by-pass on the A145 has taken twenty five years to get planning permission. The expected building date for the Beccles by-pass is sometime after 2020. Currently Suffolk County Council are investigating the A12 four village bypass in connection with the new Sizewell C power station. Suffolk has allocated ₤450,000 for studies to support the scheme which would enable the Council to advance its understanding of the scheme’s costs, benefits and development constraints and ultimately to put a business case together for Government funding. So at this stage the alternatives to the build out look to be quite expensive.
The funds allocated from my Community Budget for the build out will now be applied elsewhere in Hadleigh. Well done to the Town Council staff for organising the evening.

Streets Belong To The People, Roads Belong To Everyone – Benton Street

Benton Street 1108301610Over the past two days I have delivered letters to every household in Benton Street as follows:
“For a number of years we have experienced increased traffic on Benton Street using the street as a throughway to and from the A12. The incidence of overweight vehicles seems to have abated with the installation of improved signage at Copdock and at the East Bergholt/Hadleigh turn off, but we are still experiencing goods vehicles and private cars using us as a convenient short cut for the surrounding villages. Worse, drivers seem to think that they can drive on the pavements without regard to the residents.
A number of ideas have been circulating for some time. These include a bypass via Hook Lane, railings and a pinch point chicane/ priority traffic system.
Suffolk’s Economy Skills & Environment Department have suggested that we try a pilot programme of installing a priority traffic system between 50 and 60 Benton Street. The priority system would consist of pavement build-outs on each side of the road (see plan below). This will ensure that drivers are aware that it is not possible to pass each other in this narrow section of Benton Street and formalise the requirement to give way to oncoming traffic. Additional parking restrictions would need to be introduced to allow queuing in advance of the build-outs and approximately 7 parking spaces (including 1 advisory disabled bay, which is currently not being used) would be lost. However there would be facility to offset this loss by revoking some of the parking restrictions further along Benton Street.
If these proposals are pursued, SCC will introduce an experimental priority system, using temporary water filled barriers, for 6-12 months to confirm the effectiveness of the proposed treatment.
If you feel that Benton Street should remain the same, please tell me. Similarly if you want change, then please let me know which of the choices is most acceptable and if you have other ideas please share them with me.
A larger version of the plan will be on display upstairs in the Library at 10 a.m. on Saturday 13th September when this informal consultation will end. “
So far the feed back (on the street) has been positive.
However I would like written feedback so that we can go ahead with firmly based actions.

Benton Street Chicane Proposal 140805

Benton Street Squeeze

There is Lorry Watch Signa new reporting link for overweight vehicles using Benton Street in an illegal manner.
Regrettably the link indicates that responsibility for monitoring and enforcing (!) the illegal usage of the street has been transferred from Trading Standards to the Highways Network Management section at the Economy, Skills and Environment Department of Suffolk County Council.  The new link is

Benton Street – No More Excuses

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????   ???????????????????????????????As we finish the year, I thought I would share a success story.
The B1070, Benton Street, Hadleigh, Suffolk is infamous for its road problems.  It was not designed for a lot of traffic. It is a classic horse and cart road from Manningtree to Stowmarket and Bury St. Edmunds. The volume of heavy traffic on the road has increased as a result of Felixstowe becoming a major port. We now have over 3,000 vehicle movements a day. Much of this is personal vehicles accessing and exiting the A12. But there is also a significant volume of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV’s).
For over twenty years Benton Street has enjoyed a weight restriction due to the number of old buildings – some dating from Tudor times.  HGV’s are banned because they damage the old brickwork, overhanging buildings and lime washed walls.
Traffic coming from the West is properly advised that there is a weight restriction on the road into Hadleigh. No such warning was on the road from the East (Ipswich and Felixstowe) only an advice to avoid East Bergholt.
Coming off the A12 on the Eastern side there are now four signs within a hundred yards, pointing out the weight restriction and HGV traffic is now directed back onto the A12 to find a more appropriate route.
Full marks to the County’s , Skills and Environment Department.
There are now no excuses for dragging an HGV through Benton Street.
Eternal vigilance is price of liberty and I fully expect the Benton Street Squeeze supporters to continue monitoring the situation and reporting (a much reduced volume of) incidents to the County’s Trading Standards.