£500m road plan 'unlikely to happen'

AMBITIOUS plans for a new £500 million road linking Ipswich and the Waveney area of north Suffolk are unlikely to get off the drawing board, according to senior councillors.

AMBITIOUS plans for a new £500 million road linking Ipswich and the Waveney area of north Suffolk are unlikely to get off the drawing board, according to senior councillors.

Suffolk Development Agency (SDA) believes the new route would provide a “radical” approach to help regenerate the economy across Waveney.

The proposal would see the existing A12 between Ipswich and the A144 junction north of Saxmundham dualled. The dual carriageway would then follow the existing A144 to Halesworth and continue along the B1124 and A145 to Beccles before joining up with the A146 Lowestoft to Norwich road.

Chairman of the SDA transport group, Robert Maidment, described the dual carriageway proposal as a “radical plan” but necessary to regenerate parts of the Waveney area.


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“The Lowestoft and Yarmouth sub-region constitutes one of the most deprived areas in the UK.

“The SDA now believes that nothing less than a major dual-carriageway grade-separated trunk road will suffice in halting the area's ongoing trend of disinvestments,” he said.

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The SDA are also calling on improvements to the East Suffolk railway line that links Lowestoft and Ipswich.

Mark Bee, Waveney District Council leader and also a member of Suffolk County Council, said he had been calling for infrastructure improvements between Waveney and the rest of the county for many years - but believes this latest proposal has little chance of success.

“It is certainly an extremely ambitious project but any new road scheme across such a vast swathe of Suffolk countryside would face enormous difficulties.

“Apart from the huge costs involved I can foresee a public inquiry being held for just about every new mile of road,” he said.

Mr Bee said he thought it unlikely that the scheme could win county council or Government financial support.

“I believe other more realistic proposals give a better opportunity to help improve the economic regeneration of Waveney.

“The existing A12 needs improving and schemes such as bypassing the villages of Marlesford, Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Farnham offer better value,” he said.

Mr Bee was supported by leader of Suffolk County Council Jeremy Pembroke.

“It is a very interesting idea and I enjoyed hearing about it but it would be full of problems, not least dealing with the significant number of planning issues and appeals it would generate.

“There's no way the county council has the money for that sort of thing and I doubt whether the Government would support the cost of it,” he said.

n A plan to bypass the four villages of Marlesford, Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Farnham, will go before Suffolk County Council Cabinet members tomorrow in a bid to be included in the local transport plan.

Following the meeting the local transport plan will then go before the full council for approval later this month and schemes will be passed on to the Government which will decide on the level of future funding.

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