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Town plan delayed over traffic survey
RADICAL plans to completely transform Hadleigh town centre have ground to a halt again.
The plans feature ambitious proposals to restrict traffic between the old fire station and Rectory Road, to try to boost trade by closing part of London Road for parking.
A final decision on the plans was expected in March. However, this was postponed when the findings of a traffic survey conducted in November, assessing whether the new traffic layout would work, were deemed invalid due to the effect of traffic jams at Sadlers Farm.
A new survey was arranged for March, but that has now been pushed back to September due to the £63million Sadlers Farm roadworks overrunning, the remodelling of Tarpots roundabout, Benfleet, and the Olympics at Hadleigh Farm.
Critics argue the traffic survey, costing £30,000 each time, is being re-done to ensure the council gets the result it wants.
David Hurrell, 57, of Willow Walk, Hadleigh, said: “This is the third time it has done this survey and it just seems like it will keep doing it until it gets the result it wants.
“The whole masterplan hinges on making the High Road open to two-way traffic, so delaying the survey is just bringing it all to a grinding halt.”
If the plan is approved, the High Street would become two way, with the section of London Road through the town centre converted to allow roadside parking for shoppers.
Motorists travelling east will be able use the pedestrianised section to access Rectory Road, but will be unable to join London Road.
Concerned residents have packed out six council meetings about the masterplan over concerns the layout will not work.
Malcolm Brown, 58, of Conifers, Hadleigh, said: “It is very important the survey gives a true reflection of how the roads will be affected, but we have already seen the Canvey masterplan delayed for quite a long time so we could see the same here.
“I think a lot of people believe this layout will not work and have yet to see proof otherwise.”
A spokesman from Castle Point Council said: “The Hadleigh Traffic Survey has not taken place because we need to have normal traffic conditions to get an accurate picture of traffic flows.
“The delays to Sadlers Farm and work at Tarpots have meant we haven’t yet been able to do the survey and it won’t now be done before the second week in September due to abnormal traffic conditions created by the Olympics and school holidays.”
A YOUNG businesswoman has been forced to put her wedding day on hold because of the Hadleigh masterplan.
Louise Nicholls, 28, owner of Atlantis Beauty, in High Street, Hadleigh, says her life has been left in limbo as the decision keeps getting put back.
If approved, the £60million regeneration would see her business demolished to make way for the Church Path part of the development.
However, as long as the future of her business hangs in the balance, Miss Nicholls has been unable to set a date for her wedding over concerns she may have to invest in relocating.
She said: “We told them all along not to do the survey in March because of all the roadworks at Sadlers Farm, but they refused to listen and just wasted the money. I don’t understand why it costs so much they should just give me the £30,000 and I will go put cones out in the road, and block it off for a few days for a trial run. That’s all it would take.
“It is just so frustrating. My fiance and I wanted to get married this year, but we can’t until I know whether I am staying or going. At this rate I am never going to get married.”