September 18 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
A campaign pushing for a direct rail link from Sudbury to London and a much needed bypass for the west Suffolk market town has been launched.
Sudbury’s ongoing traffic woes have been well documented in recent years, with Cross Street being labelled one of the UK’s most polluted streets due to ongoing congestion in the town.
The ‘Keep Sudbury Moving’ initiative, aimed at relieving traffic congestion and helping commuters, is being spearheaded by south Suffolk parliamentary candidate James Cartlidge.
With backing from town, district and county councillors, he has also committed to campaigning for the redevelopment of Sudbury’s antiquated bus station and a cycling action plan for the town.
Mr Cartlidge, who lives in Bures, described Sudbury as a fantastic market town with great prospects, but said it was suffering due to its position in the middle of the busy A131, which is the main strategic lorry route from Essex.
He said: “The town has a major asset in its rail service, but we had broken down trains causing cancellations only last week, and the main line it connects to has been beset with well-documented problems from over-running engineering works.
“In the long term, I believe that – as is already the case for neighbouring Braintree – it would be a massive boost to Sudbury if we could have a direct link to London and I will be looking to make the business case for that investment.
“Our aim is to keep Sudbury moving by pushing for a genuinely co-ordinated action on local transport.”
Hundreds of new homes are planned for Sudbury and Great Cornard over the next 20 years which will compound the existing traffic and transport problems.
But Mr Cartlidge believes that growth will boost the business case to persuade the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to invest in Sudbury’s infrastructure.
He added: “Other parts of Suffolk, such as Beccles and Bury, have seen significant transport funding from the LEP but we are yet to see any such funding for transport in south Suffolk. We now have the opportunity to make a strong and constructive case for our share.”
At the campaign launch, county councillor Colin Spence agreed, He said: “The Local Enterprise Partnership is now making big decisions about where money is going to be spent but unfortunately, Sudbury’s bypass is fairly low on the agenda.
“The agenda needs to be reviewed and a concerted effort is required to get this issue raised up the agenda.”
Town and district councillor Adrian Osborne added: “We have had money in the pot for transport issues and lost it because we didn’t make decisions quickly enough. We need to push these things forward and get moving on them.”
Jane Basham, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the patch applauded the sentiment behind the campaign but said some of the ideas were not achievable in the short term. She added: “The issues we face in terms of traffic congestion, rail travel and pollution are not new and should have been addressed many years ago and it’s a combination of inaction by officials at district, county and parliamentary levels.
“It’s all very well to have grand ideas about rail lines from Sudbury to London but practical action on the ground is what’s needed and that’s what we are trying to achieve.
“We recently called a cross party community meeting about traffic so that the views of Sudbury people could be heard. They do not want a direct rail line to London, but rather they would like cheaper fares.
“There are some relatively small steps that can be taken now to improve matters and that’s what we have been concentrating on.”