Rat-run anger prompts calls to block off road

CELIA WIGG Angry residents have called for a Diss road to be blocked off to prevent it being used as a rat run to a new housing estate. Highways officials are to review existing traffic-calming measures at Mission Road following claims that the 20mph limit and access-only restrictions are being flouted by motorists who drive through at speed.

CELIA WIGG

Angry residents have called for a Diss road to be blocked off to prevent it being used as a rat run to a new housing estate.

Highways officials are to review existing traffic-calming measures at Mission Road following claims that the 20mph limit and access-only restrictions are being flouted by motorists who drive through at speed.

Protesters have submitted a 20-name petition calling for the street to be made a 'no-through road'.

They say people living at the adjoining Persimmon Homes estate are using it as a short cut on to the A1066 Victoria Road - despite problems with parked cars blocking visibility at the junction - instead of the main access at Sawmills

Lane which is controlled by traffic lights.

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The problems were highlighted by Tony Palmer, chairman of the town council's highways committee, during a meeting this week with Norfolk County Council highways engineers.

"There are concerns about traffic screaming round from the new housing estate. The general view is that the [traffic-calming] scheme as agreed is not working properly and needs to be looked again, and we have referred this to the county council," said Mr Palmer.

He has written to Diss police chief Adam Hayes about the problems, having met residents with town mayor Brian Clark-Taylor.

"Because the 20mph limit is not enforced, people think it's not there.

"I do believe there is a need for a few collars down there to be felt, and let people realise enforcement is going to be taken," Mr Palmer stressed.

Tim Edmunds, the county council's traffic-planning services manager, told the committee that no one could "magic away" the impact posed by housing developments.

"They are having an impact but it is their Diss and their public highway as well as the existing residents'.

"You don't want to build up neighbourly tensions, quite frankly, and this needs to be dealt with quite sensitively. You may have some local residents who don't want the development and are finding it hard to come to terms with it," he said.

Diss has been chosen as one of six market towns to have a comprehensive traffic review, due to start later this year, and Mr Edmunds said it was an ideal time to take another look at the Mission Road scheme.

"We will see if there's anything that's a quick win we can do," he added.

Meanwhile, town councillor John Maskell has volunteered to carry out a two-day survey to gather information about who uses the road.