Suffolk: Coastal cut-off blunder left Lord Marlesford seething
07:30 16 May 2014
A Suffolk lord has put his county back on the map – quite literally – and used its omission to press for greater investment in the region’s transport infrastructure.
Lord Marlesford said it was “extraordinary” Suffolk did not feature in the Government’s latest transport strategy – and found his disbelief compounded by the county’s partial exclusion from a map within the document.
During a House of Lords discussion on the Draft National Policy Statement for National Networks, he said: “It is extraordinary that my county of Suffolk does not have a place in the strategy at all.
“Indeed, if the minister opens her copy of the report at Page 84, she will see that, in order to fit the map of England on to the page, the whole of the coastal area of Suffolk has been cut off. That is the most sensitive area of Suffolk.
“There can be no bigger indicator of Whitehall indifference to those of us who live in East Anglia than that.”
The peer went on to highlight further instances whereby he felt Suffolk had been poorly served by transport policy.
The previous government’s decision to remove the A12’s trunk road status was, he said, a “great mistake”.
And the four villages bypass on that road is “urgently needed”, he added.
Marlesford features alongside Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Farnham as four villages, which have been campaigning for an A12 bypass for decades.
The campaign has gained more momentum in the light of EDF’s Sizewell C proposal, which campaigners fear will lead to intolerable volumes of heavy traffic passing through the villages towards the power plant.
Lord Marlesford, chairman of Marlesford Parish Council, said it would be “quite unacceptable to local people”.
“This bypass is urgently needed, quite apart from the needs of Sizewell C,” he added.
“It should be part of the upgrading of the A12 and be brought back into the strategic road network.”
He also criticised power giant EDF’s pre-application discussions with Suffolk Coastal District Council and its withholding of details due to commercial confidentiality.
“The elected councillors are being kept in the dark with regard to what is being proposed. That is the antithesis of democracy and not what councils are about.”
Lord Marlesford’s calls to reinstate Suffolk on the map were welcomed by the Minister of State for Department for Transport Baroness Kramer apologised and said “we will get it corrected”.
“In terms of the issues around Sizewell C I do not have those details with me today, so I will have to respond to him separately, if I may,” she added.