Following the consultation that ended on 19 June, we can confirm that Option 2 will be delivered. This is the middle option outside the Church Institute Hall.
The results of the consultation did not show a clear preference, with all proposed locations being chosen by a number of respondents for a variety of different reasons, with a number of people also suggesting that the crossing should remain in its current location and others suggesting it should be located closer to the garage/village hall than any of the three options. The rationale for choosing option 2 is detailed below.
There were concerns raised around the lack of footpath on the eastern side of East Barton Road. We can confirm that additional works to extend the footpath will be undertaken at this location to allow for a safer crossing of East Barton Road.
The assessment of the consultation responses highlighted a number of issues that fed into our final decision, these being:
- The importance of keeping the crossing close to East Barton Road/School Road junction for parents that use East Barton Road at school pick up and collection.
- The importance of moving the crossing away from the air quality management area (AQMA) to maximise air quality benefits.
- The importance of placing the crossing in an ‘open’ area to limit any negative air quality impact on the proposed new location.
- The importance of having the crossing accessible for the users of the village hall and garage.
Taking into account all preparatory work and the consultation feedback, West Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council consider that there a number of advantages to the new location and crossing that should be highlighted:
- Air quality improvements within the AQMA.
- Easier and safer access to school from those living in the Elms Close and Cox Lane areas.
- Easier and safer access to the school from the village hall car park, which is currently under-utilised at school drop off and collection times. This would represent a closer and safer route to the school than the Freedom Church car park where parents are currently encouraged to park.
- Improvements to the footpath at the end of East Barton Road comprising of an extension beyond the existing end of footpath and new dropped curbs.
- Improvements to the Church Institute footpath.
- No increase in overall distance or distance adjacent to the A143 for parents and children parking on East Barton Road and accessing the school.
- Upgrading of the traffic lights to a more modern, intelligent and energy efficient Puffin crossing that will be more reliable, safer and ensure a smoother flow of traffic. It should be noted that the current crossing is the oldest in Suffolk and significant works are required to ensure the current Puffin crossing remains functioning, regardless of whether it is moved to a new location or not.
We currently anticipate that works will commence in September 2019, there will be further updates.