Gill Horrocks, Aldringham Resident, Open Floor Hearing 6 (OFH6), Friday 6 November 2020

My name is Gill Horrocks. My family has been here for decades, providing medical care to the local population and living among them.

Aldringham has interdependent connectivity with the adjacent villages, and with the towns of Leiston and Aldeburgh, which provide most of our needs: shopping, education, health services, emergency services and jobs.

Aldringham’s children attend Coldfair Green or Leiston schools, and we are able to walk to primary school or to the shop and market garden, through the ancient footpath network. This will be lost when Fitches’ Lane is destroyed, forcing anyone south of the pinch point onto a long and unpleasant detour path, past the works, to get to school, shop or church. This plan is not fit for purpose.

During EA1, 10 villages had weeks of total closure of one road for cable laying. Is this in store for Aldringham? It would not be an inconvenience, it will be hardship. There are more than a mile of dwellings south of the pinch point on both sides of the Aldeburgh Road, B1122, that will be cut off when the road is closed, because there are no roads off the B1122 that could be used to divert traffic. The only way out of Aldringham will be through Aldeburgh, making it an 8 mile trip in one direction to Leiston, instead of a 1.5 mile one.

This means the doctor, dentist, pharmacy, optician, physio, vet, leisure centre, cinema, cadets, band practice, football, gym, dance, nursery, playgroup, midwife, primary schools, high school, food shops, pub or church, and work, will require car trips, of 16 miles there and back. A little too far for most to cycle. A bus trip to Leiston, or to the train at Saxmundham, will be glacial, and school buses will not be able to easily pick up or deliver our children.

Access by the medical, nursing and emergency services to the southern part of the village will be cut or slowed. It will feel like the Berlin Wall.

Perhaps this problem could be mitigated by not trenching, by tunnelling the cable under the road and river?

Hardly.

If the cables can be sent underground, there will still be haul roads on top.

From Coldfair Green to Aldringham, the haul road looks at least 10m wide, and wider at junctions to accommodate articulated lorries turning.

From Coldfair Green, it cuts through farmland, passes within a few dozen metres of Billeaford Hall and, worryingly, Coldfair Green Primary School, then removes Fitches Lane, and 2 acres of the woods. There will be two feeder junctions, known as 5&6, from the haul roads, onto Aldeburgh Road. They are sited within, and opposite, Aldringham Court Nursing Home.

HGVs will thunder by the pond of the Nursing Home on the west side of the road to stop at  junction 6, or drive by to turn off and shake the houses in Gypsy Lane on the eastern haul road at Junction 5. Two access junctions are also planned not far to the north of Aldringham Court, on the east side. This means 4 junctions, in close proximity. It also means a lot of noisy gear changing, braking and engine idling, whenever a vehicle approaches them, 12 hours a day.

The bus stop used by care workers and schoolchildren will be a pollution zone. The road safety assessments admit that visibility at these junctions will be inadequate. Negotiatng the junctions and crossing the road will become problematic and hazardous. I don’t understand how the local councils can accept this.

The heritage building may well suffer, structurally, but the elderly inhabitants will certainly be harmed by noise, vibration, loss of tranquility, loss of garden and garden access and a dramatic increase in noxious pollution from airborne exhaust fumes, and metallic particulates. What a grim outlook for the poor residents’ last years. Will the business even survive? How many jobs will be lost, if this valued care facility is squandered?

The National Infrastructure Principles of Feb 2020 require that projects should improve the quality of life for people, benefit the natural environment,  mitigate emissions for the climate and provide benefits for the community. This project fails on every point.




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