Hold-up for speed limit changes

PUBLISHED: 20:04 14 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:00 22 October 2010

Motorists and villagers will have to wait to find out if new speed limits are to be imposed along the A12.

Motorists and villagers will have to wait to find out if new speed limits are to be imposed along the A12.

Members of Suffolk County Council transport panel agreed to pass on the suggested changes to the authority's leading politician on roads and transport, who will decide what to do next.

Higher speed limits could be allowed close to some of villages along the notorious road, which has claimed 23 lives in the last 10 years.

But first Guy McGregor, the council's portfolio holder for roads and transport, will have to back the recommendations of the working group that took a fact-finding bus ride along the A12 from Ipswich to Lowestoft on May 17.

The changes will also have to be agreed by the council's cabinet and get through a public consultation period.

Mark Bee, chairman of Suffolk's roads and transport scrutiny committee, said there was a long way to go before motorists would see any difference.

“In this case along the A12 we know that the parishes will have an opinion on speed limits while the business community in Lowestoft might have a different view.”

Mr Bee added that the committee was concerned about lower speed limits occupying long stretches outside the village centres.

“The committee felt some of the restrictions need to be revised because the hinter-lands are too long,” he added.

The A12 is mostly single carriageway for most of the first 30 miles south of Lowestoft, with three short stretches of dual carriageway totalling two miles.

Last year, roads minister Stephen Ladyman described the road as a “hotch potch… with single carriageways, bits of dualling and strange locations for speed limits”.

Changes proposed focus on the villages that punctuate the road, and include:

At Wrentham the changes could see 40mph buffer zones at either end of the village abolished in favour of 60mph approaches.

At Blythburgh, similar buffer zone restrictions either side of the village could also raised from 40mph to 50mph, although the group would want to hear about accident rates in the area before making a recommendation.

At Yoxford, traffic approaching from the south could see the speed limit raised from 40mph to 50mph.

At Darsham, motorists travelling towards Lowestoft could see the 40mph limit raised to 50mph after the filling station, subject to a safety review, with the support of police.

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