A11 Update – The Brandon question
21/01/2012 Leave a comment
Had a really excellent meeting on the duelling of the A11 yesterday at Endeavour House. The meeting was chaired by Cllr. Guy McGregor Portfolio Holder for Transport from Suffolk County Council and Matthew Hancock MP for West Suffolk.
Over the years I have attended many meetings on the duelling of the A11 some even before I was a Councillor as the West Suffolk Association Deputy Chairman usually with Richard Spring MP for West Suffolk, now Lord Risby of Haverhill, as he did battled to see its duelling.
The meeting was packed with Representatives from Brandon and the local community with every layer of Council well represented both by Officers and Councillors both in Suffolk and Norfolk. We heard a presentation from the highways Agency that was both encouraging and discouraging. They opened with the Bury Free Press front page article exposing plans that traffic might be diverted through Brandon as the A11 closed during construction, they also read the email they sent to the BFP and to be very fair to them the article was less that supportive and a very sensational illogical conclusion to what they were actually saying.
In very flat engineering references they talked about the road staying open as traffic is managed from old to new carriageway and they there may be moments the road might have to close for safety reasons but they would do everything they could to make this the dead of night and as little as possible.
As this point I stressed the need for the Highways Agency to work with Cllr. McGregor and his team who are well used to dealing with the local press and know how to discuss matters with them and get them to understand what is being said. I also said they should, from now on in, make sure that all of us local Councils, Councillors and Community groups are sent something as simple as an email to keep them informed
We can but hope they listen, nobody is expecting Highway engineers to be experts at public engagement but working with our communities is our ‘bread and butter’ and they must use our networks as a apart of the construction if they wished to keep people informed and take our communities on this good news journey, yes there will be some disruption
Matthew Hancock, the new MP for West Suffolk gave reassurances to the meeting about the plans to get on with it and all in all people left the meeting in a far better mood than that in which they entered.
I think our communities have been very patience waiting for this major error to be corrected, MP’s both old and new have battled hard to keep this in the political arena not the long grass.; campaigners whilst they have seen the road constantly diminished with shortened entry slip roads and no proper solution for the Barton Mills roundabout. And in my own Patch the communities of Lakenheath, Eriswell and Icklingham restrained in their disappointment that the B1112 will not have access up onto the new road merely an underpass.; Tuddenham, rightly, remain very worry about the way in which their road crosses to get to Barton Mills and I have and will keep up the pressure to see a speed camera to protect this dangerous crossing.
I look forward to the official opening with Matthew Hancock MP and Lord Risby of Haverhill cutting the Ribbon. We will then go straight to Barton Mills Village Hall and I’ll host the first meeting of the A11 action group to start the campaign for improvements and a proper flyover at Barton Mills, such is life!