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Suffolk: New hope for four villages as bypass a key link in economic blueprint

PUBLISHED: 12:05 19 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:05 19 March 2014

There are serious traffic problems on the A12 at Farnham.

There are serious traffic problems on the A12 at Farnham.

There is new hope today that four traffic-blighted villages on the A12 in east Suffolk could soon get a bypass to ease their misery.

Preparatory work could start as early as next year in a bid to ensure the road is in place before the major construction phase of a Sizewell C Power Station gets underway.

A new by-pass for the area is one of a number of schemes set out in the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) prepared by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The plan is to be debated by the county council’s cabinet next week, but is unlikely to encounter much opposition at Endeavour House.

The by-pass is seen as vital for the development of the economy in north east Suffolk – and the plan holds out the hope that it could be built within the next seven years.

Work on the road is crucial to the development of Sizewell C – and a construction timetable for the road of 2018-21 has been drawn up by Suffolk County Council and is set to be endorsed by the LEP.

That does depend on funding becoming available, but it is the first point in which a possible timescale has been drawn up for the construction of the road.

Suffolk County Council is set to carry out preparatory work in 2015/16 to ensure everything is ready if funding for the major scheme which would effectively link the Wickham Market and Saxmundham by-passes is secured.

Suffolk’s cabinet member for transport, Graham Newman, welcomed the LEP support the by-pass. He said: “The bypassing of the four villages remains one of the County Council’s top seven priority road schemes.

“It will be absolutely essential to accommodate the passage of the heavy plant and materials which will be needed to build Sizewell C.

“We continue to work with all the agencies involved, including EDF and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, to assemble the case for the earliest possible delivery of an acceptable scheme”.

Other features of the plan are a proposal that the A14 between Felixstowe and Cambridge should be designated a “growth corridor,” as should the shorter distance between Haverhill and Cambridge.

Over the next 12 years – by 2026 – the LEP expects to see 95,000 new jobs created in Norfolk and Suffolk and 117,000 new houses built. It also hopes to see the creation of 10,000 new businesses.

Much of the growth should come in specific areas such as Greater Ipswich, the A14 corridor and the area around Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.

And the possible construction of Sizewell C should give a major boost to the economy of east Suffolk.

Sudbury and Haverhill are seen as major manufacturing hubs for the region and need to see road improvements if they are to thrive in the future.

Other major road projects to get LEP support are improvements to A14 junctions around Ipswich, the construction of a third river crossing in Lowestoft, and improved road links in Ipswich town centre.

The LEP also stresses the need to improve rail routes in the region, especially the main line to Liverpool Street.

The plan is set to be discussed by the county council’s cabinet on Tuesday – and members are expected to give it a clear endorsement.

The EADT laucnhed the Bypass 4 the Villages campaign to support residents in their battle for a new highway.

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