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Children's centre access fears

PUBLISHED: 15:57 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 14:01 21 May 2010

WARNINGS about a dangerous junction near a children's centre and school have been ignored, councillors have claimed.

A new children's centre is being built in the grounds of Beccles Middle School, but parents and councillors fear that their concerns over the dangerous access to the site have been ignored.

WARNINGS about a dangerous junction near a children's centre and school have been ignored, councillors have claimed.

A new children's centre is being built in the grounds of Beccles Middle School, but parents and councillors fear that their concerns over the dangerous access to the site have been ignored.

The town council was consulted on the plans in November but said they should be turned down because of the entrance near to the busy Coney Hill and Rigbourne Hill junction.

The £930,000 project, which will include a day care centre for children up to the age of five and a community meeting room, is being built by Suffolk County Council. Work started on the site just a week ago and already a hedge running along the school field has been removed and the curb has been lowered. Having the site entrance at the top of Castle Hill will also increase the volume of traffic on the already double-parked and busy road.

Michael Adams, who lives in Rigbourne Hill, said that he has seen accidents on the junction in the past. He said: “The curb is no longer effective because the road is level with the path. When someone comes round that bend a little too fast on an icy morning, there's nothing to stop them driving on to the pavement and knocking down a child on their way to school. It's an accident waiting to happen.”

Caroline Topping said that she was upset to see that the town council's views seemed to have been ignored. “I want the general public to know that the town council made the planners aware of the dangerous junction months ago, our objections were based on local knowledge. We will not be held responsible where there is an accident,” she said.

The county council's highways engineers told county councillors, who decided the application in December, that although near a junction, there was good visibility of the new access from the east and south and therefore it would not lead to “unacceptable hazards to either vehicular traffic or pedestrians”.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “We were happy with the assessment from highways engineers that the proposed access would not present an unacceptable hazard. The access involved follows a chicane on the road so that traffic would have slowed down at this point in any event. As with all road layouts, safety does depend on drivers approaching junctions with due care and attention.”

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