Zac Norman – District Councillor For Sproughton & Pinewood

Image by Simon Lavington

I mentioned Churchman Way in my last report, that little shortcut to the main part of the village off Hadleigh Road which is frequently overgrown and difficult to navigate. I reported it to Suffolk County Council (00306687) but they responded by saying that reports have doubled during lockdown, only one out of six officers is covering the county and that, due to the nature of this walkway, it is not deemed essential. It was suggested that the parish council should try and sort it out for themselves.

I was not pleased with this result so I found out who the landowner is in order to establish the next steps. Suffolk County Council contacted the households on both sides of the path and, with help from the Public Rights of Way team who met the landowners on-site, Churchman Way is now clear of obstructions. Highways are satisfied that the route is now passable for the public and hopefully it will be maintained in the future.

I’ve noticed a lot more litter in Sproughton as of late. Taylor Wimpey has offered to install another bin in Church Lane where there could be an enclosure to put large amounts of waste to be collected by Babergh after litter picking. This would give us a designated space within the village to put all of the collected waste and is something I am really pleased about as it shows not only effort from Taylor Wimpey to help with the litter problem in the area but also solves the issue of currently having no designated area to put the collected litter. I have agreed with the parish council that I will take this idea forward.

I look forward to establishing a good working relationship with Taylor Wimpey regarding litter and proactively engaging with them to get the best results I can for the village when it comes to increased littering in the parish. We plan to meet in March where this will be discussed further.

I hope to be out collecting litter again with you all as soon as restrictions allow. As a result of the last A14 closure, I contacted Christos Galanopoulos at Highways England to ask why the Old Norwich Road route keeps being trashed. I now understand that there is a tank trap that HGVs cannot pass and they cannot go under the bridge on Norwich Road so this route would not help for eastbound closures. However, there shouldn’t be a problem for westbound closures and with houses much further set back from the road and wider lanes, it could be much more convenient than Sproughton.

There isn’t a 7.5 tonne weight limit on this route either and it is just as close to the A14 as the Sproughton route with no risk of a bridge collapsing. The only issue I can see is that Suffolk County Council would have to remove the tank trap and provide mitigation measures but Highways England hasn’t even asked for Suffolk County Council’s opinion, though they could even be in favour.

I have asked Highways England to get in contact with the county council because even if this route can’t be used for every closure it would still provide some relief on Sproughton, especially for emergency closures. I will wait to hear back on this response.

If this route really is out of the question and Sproughton must be used, I have asked that Highways England provide money for the village to deal with road repairs, resurfaces and damage, essentially like a Section 106 agreement when developers put money in to help a village. I believe if we must deal with this heavy traffic from HGVs, then we should have some sort of compensation. They, of course, do not have a legal obligation to do this but morally, this would go a long way to help us deal with these closures.

Of course, A14 maintenance is needed but Sproughton residents shouldn’t be punished because of this. In response to this, Highways England has asked for feedback from residents, particularly those in High Street.

Many of you might have seen my post on Nextdoor about this but if you didn’t and wanted to give feedback, you can do so by emailing Christos at:

I have been invited to the third community and environment stakeholder reference group meeting for the A14 J55 Copdock Interchange Scheme.

This will be to share the details of the progress that has been made on the scheme and will invite discussion to further understand the needs of stakeholders, customers and the local area.

This meeting is to take place on 24 March so you may not have sufficient notice to submit questions but if there is anything you’d like me to raise at subsequent meetings, I’d be more than happy to do so.

The road sign coming off the Beagle Roundabout has fallen over. This is a wooden sign so it is likely that this has just rotted away. I have reported this to Highways.

A resident living on the Church Lane development has informed me that virtually all the drains that are located along Church Lane are once again blocked with silt and dirt. This coupled with existing flooding needs urgent attention and I have reported to Ben Cook at Suffolk County Council and I asked that someone is commissioned ASAP to come and sort out this problem.

As always, if you have anything you’d like to raise with me, please don’t hesitate to get in contact. / 07577 359922

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