Safety concerns have been raised after controversial plans for a new petrol station, drive-thru restaurant and coffee shop off the A14 were given the go-ahead at appeal.

An application by Euro Garages for empty grassland next to Kiln Lane, Elmswell, near Bury St Edmunds, just off the A14, was made to Mid Suffolk District Council in November 2021.

Following a host of objections, the plans were refused by the council in March last year – with the reasons given that the proposed development would result in "uncontrolled traffic levels" and concerns over safety with the A14 slip roads.

An appeal was lodged against the decision by the applicant in June last year and, on January 10, the Planning Inspectorate granted the plans.

East Anglian Daily Times: Empty grassland next to Kiln Lane, Elmswell where the petrol station has been approvedEmpty grassland next to Kiln Lane, Elmswell where the petrol station has been approved (Image: Google maps)

Paul Peachey, who has lived in Elmswell all of his life, said of the approval: "There's a lot of concerns, a lot of people put in objections to the plans and Mid Suffolk obviously didn't approve of it either. 

"I don't think they [the Inspectorate] realise the danger of that particular road. They have shoe-horned this garage into this piece of land. It is just off the A14 and you also have the A1088 roundabouts which cars will be coming off."

In the decision it was found that traffic at the site would be created from vehicles already travelling on the surrounding roads, and so new traffic is not likely to be created.

However, Mr Peachey said he believes this to be untrue and is worried about impact a rise in traffic could have on road safety.

"There's accidents on the roundabout anyhow and with the amount of traffic that will go to the garage it will get worse. I'd put my house on it, there are going to be accidents at the site," he said.

Sarah Mansel, who represents Elmswell and Woolpit on Mid Suffolk District Council, said: "It was certainly a sad day when this application won the appeal. 

"Despite initial concerns from Suffolk Highways about the proposed road layout, mainly relating to concerns with the egress from the site, Suffolk Highways then removed their objection. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr Sarah ManselCllr Sarah Mansel (Image: Mid Suffolk District Council)

"All traffic visiting the site will need to go around the roundabout twice and traffic exiting the facility will have to join the exit slip road from the A14 and have a very short space in which to change lanes, which could certainly lead to more accidents. 

"Both villages have had a lot of new development so there is already a lot of traffic using the roundabout."

Ms Mansel called the pedestrian and cycle access to the site "practically non-existent", meaning those who wanted to use it would have to drive. 

"Woolpit and Elmswell have many shared amenities - Elmswell has the railway station and Woolpit has the doctors' surgery and we should be doing all we can to promote sustainable ways to get from one village to the other," she said. 

"Putting more traffic onto the roundabout is not the way to encourage people to walk or cycle and the proposed community path  between the two villages is not likely to be completed in the near future.

"There are also concerns that this facility could take business away from local services such as the petrol stations in Woolpit and Norton, as well as cafes in both Elmswell and Woolpit." 

A spokesperson for Mid Suffolk District Council said: "We were disappointed that the Inspector did not uphold the decision made by our planning committee.

"However, we recognise the ruling and will proceed accordingly."

EG Group is owned by Issa Brothers, the same company that owns Asda.