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A11 decision delayed again

PUBLISHED: 09:02 16 December 2009 | UPDATED: 21:50 07 July 2010

A DECISION on dualling the last single carriageway stretch of the A11 inched closer to a general election yesterday after the public inquiry was adjourned for six weeks.

A DECISION on dualling the last single carriageway stretch of the A11 inched closer to a general election yesterday after the public inquiry was adjourned for six weeks.

The Elveden Estate had been due to outline its concerns about the nine mile scheme between Thetford and Barton Mills and the lack of a junction linking the B1112 to the widened A11.

But the planning inspector yesterday said he had no choice but to resume the inquiry on January 25 after the Highways Agency presented new traffic data to officials from the west Suffolk estate.

Work on the long-awaited dualling of the A11 and Elveden bypass, which is estimated to cost between £106m and £147m, is due to start at the end of next year, following the satisfactory completion of a public inquiry.

Officials from the Highways Agency and Elveden Estate spoke of their regret at forcing the inquiry, which was scheduled to finish tomorrow , into overtime.

It comes after the government department reran its traffic modelling for the vehicle movements and flow on the dualled road between Thetford and the Fiveways roundabout and presented its findings to the objector just before the start of the hearing at Elveden Village Hall yesterday.

Rupert Warren, from the Highways Agency, said the authority had been working hard to resolve the concerns of officials at the 23,000 acre estate, owned by Lord Iveagh.

“We have not been wasting time. The aim is to bring Elveden's objections to a close as swiftly as possible and deal with it as expeditiously as possible and fairly,” he said.

Reuben Taylor, for the Elveden Estate, said he hoped to “stop the ping pong” with the Highways Agency by January 25.

“Unfortunately, we are in an impossible position. It would not be sensible to come back so soon and so sharply after the New Year. We are anxious as everyone else for this inquiry to finish and a decision to be made,” he said.

Planning inspector Neil Taylor said it was “unreasonable” to continue without giving the estate adequate time to look at the new traffic models, but he would not be prepared to make any more adjournments when the inquiry recommences next month.

“I am anxious the local population would want a reasonably timed decision on this. If the game of ping pong is not decided by the 25th I will pick up the ball and decide the conclusion of the game,” he said.


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