Transport secretary of state Chris Grayling visits Elmswell to discuss relief road proposal
PUBLISHED: 14:42 17 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:49 17 March 2017
The Government’s transport secretary Chris Grayling visited Elmswell today to discuss the possibility of a relief road for one of Suffolk’s largest villages.
With the village set to increase drastically in size over the next few years, the Secretary of State for Transport accepted an invitation from county councillor Jane Storey to visit and see firsthand the problems residents experience every day with tailbacks from the level crossing that splits the village in two.
With a number of lorries also passing through the village, a relief road has been talked about over the past few years as a possible solution to the problem.
“This is a really important strategic railway line and there are ambitions to grow traffic and we’ve got to understand the implications of any local growth for local communities,” Mr Grayling said.
“A visit like this is very useful to understand the matter.”
With plans to increase the amount of freight trains coming out of Felixstowe, to take some of the load off the A14, the train line that passes through the middle of Elmswell is of vital national importance.
If more trains means more time for cars waiting for the level crossing barriers to rise, then a relief road could help ease some of the pressure on the village’s roads.
Mrs Storey has been county councillor for Elmswell since 2002 and has long campaigned for a relief road from Ashfield Road to the A14.
She drove Mr Grayling around the village, starting at the Co-op. Simon Wilson from haulage firm HC Wilson also met Mr Grayling. The company has been based in the village for 50 years and currently its HGVs pass through the middle of the village.
“It was very important to have Simon here because their business is very important to the village. They employ local people and use the local shops and facilities,” said Mrs Storey. “They have to go through here to access the A14. Driving through in a car is bad enough sometimes.
“It was really important for the secretary of state to see where the housing was going to be but also to understand that there’s a pot that the developers should be contributing into for a relief road. The relief road doesn’t just benefit Elmswell, but also villages to the north of Elmswell.”
Suffolk County Council leader Colin Noble said: “It’s beyond great to have the Secretary of State down here and the opportunity to show him all the issues here in Elmswell and show him and tell him about the need to address more freight on the rail line, more passengers trains on the railway lines and what that means for local communities and how we will make sure we balance the need of the local communities and the need to grow our economy and passenger service.”