November 29 2014 Latest news:
Andrew Fitchett, Reporter
Saturday, July 5, 2014
An estate at the heart of the A11 dualling project has said the road’s re-routing has triggered a “severe downturn” in visitor numbers after a request for signage was refused.
Elveden Estate has said that, since the Elveden Bypass has opened, re-routed customers have either become confused as to how to get to its courtyard, pub and post office businesses or totally oblivious to their existence.
Frances Armstrong, marketing manager for the estate, said that although it was broadly behind the dualling project, a decision by the Highways Agency to refuse its request for signage had left them “highly disappointed”.
“Under the new road layout we knew that customers would not be passing our doors anymore and would have to turn off the A11 a short distance to find us. In anticipation of this, we applied to the Highways Agency for brown tourist signs. We are highly disappointed that this application was refused.”
“It is in fact much easier and quicker to get to us now – the route from Bury St Edmunds and Brandon is unchanged and there are no more “Elveden crossroads” creating queues.
“However, we have benefitted enormously from passing trade in the past and this has now virtually ceased. People are simply not aware of the facilities that are available at the Elveden A11 junction as there is no sign for them.”
The estate was a major player in the dualling project as it owned 80 acres of the land through which the 9.1 mile stretch of road runs.
In 2008, Lady Iveagh - whose husband Lord Iveagh owns the estate - said the estate was fully behind the plans. She told the EDP at the time that the estate would “deal with it” if the dualling took away trade, as it would make it “safer and more convenient to travel along the A11”.
The Highways Agency informed the estate of their decision to refuse the installation of two brown tourist signs in February.
Geoff Chatfield, project manager, told the estate in a letter that the signs had been refused to minimise “driver information overload” caused by too many signs and because there was already signage to Elveden.
With no appeal process allowed, the Estate is planning to introduce its own signage in fields and across bridges on the A11 to ensure people can find it, according to Ms Armstrong.
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