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Row kicks off over roadworks

PUBLISHED: 12:20 10 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:29 05 July 2010

A ROW has erupted between a roads chief and Waveney's MP Bob Blizzard this week over whether ongoing road works in Oulton Broad are really a priority.

Bridge Road has been closed for nearly a month to all southbound traffic causing major disruption for residents, businesses and children walking to Dell Primary School.

A ROW has erupted between a roads chief and Waveney's MP Bob Blizzard this week over whether ongoing road works in Oulton Broad are really a priority.

Bridge Road has been closed for nearly a month to all southbound traffic causing major disruption for residents, businesses and children walking to Dell Primary School.

Last night Mr Blizzard called for Suffolk County Council to reveal what public consultation they undertook before carrying out the work, questioning if there was evidence to support a demand.

But Guy McGregor, portfolio holder for roads and transport at the county council, claimed in Mr Blizzard's eyes they are “damned” if they spend money and “damned” if they don't.

The work includes the removal of the right turn into Marsh Lane and the widening of the pavement to include a cycle path, which Mr Blizzard believes will make Bridge Road even narrower.

“The question is who determined this work was a priority and what evidence do they have of a demand for it from the people of Lowestoft?” said Mr Blizzard.

“Cycle ways are important but was this work really such a priority that it had to be done before lots of other things that Lowestoft needs, and cause so much disruption? ”

Mr Blizzard said he wanted to know total cost of the work and whether the council did any studies on what the impact of removing the right turn into Marsh Road will be on traffic flow.

He added: “Local people are quite rightly very angry about the disruption these road works are causing to their daily lives. I want to know whether Suffolk County Council even consulted those who would be affected, not just on the impact, but on the initial decision to build a cycle way, before causing traffic chaos by closing the road for six weeks.”

Mr McGregor insisted transport investment in Lowestoft was mapped out in the Lowestoft Local Transport Action Plan of 2003 and that residents and businesses were also consulted in June, with local councillors informed.

He said: “We did this as a result of widespread public consultation, which included a public exhibition. The plans identified a range of investment in Lowestoft.”

He said this included improvements for cyclists to help reduce carbon emissions and promote healthy lifestyles.

Mr McGregor said the project was costing £200,000 and said it was a case of striking a balance with road maintenance projects.

“If Mr Blizzard had the grace to contact me before he went public, I think the benefits to the people would be greater. On the one hand we get condemned by Bob Blizzard for not spending money and when we do spend money, he condemns us for that. We are damned if we do and damned if we don't.”

The headteacher at Dell Primary School has urged parents to be vigilant in areas affected by the work currently taking place.

Concerns have been raised for the safety of children at the school in Dell Road, as motorists appear to be using the connecting street Colville Road to cut short their journeys.

But now Beryl Hindes has warned parents about the dangers of a crossing along Bridge Road, which doesn't have any lights.

Mrs Hindes sent out a letter after a parent arrived with her children to school on Friday visibly shaken after a near miss at the crossing close to the roundabout at Saltwater Way.

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