A12: Bypass support continues to grow but EDF may not fund improvements

SUPPORT continues to flood in for the East Anglian Daily Times’s campaign to secure a bypass for villages along a dangerous stretch of the A12.

But energy giant EDF has said it would like to deliver most of its materials for a potential new nuclear power station at Sizewell by sea or rail – fuelling fears that the company may not fund the improvements.

However, bosses have refused to rule anything out, saying they are committed to an “ongoing dialogue”.

Nearly 750 concerned road users have now signed up to the EADT’s Bypass 4 The Villages campaign, which is aiming to end years of traffic misery for those living in Marlesford, Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Farnham.

Residents have been campaigning for decades to get the busy, narrow stretch of the A12 that runs through these villages improved.

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The EADT has been spearheading a campaign to secure a bypass from the Wickham Market junction to the Friday Street junction at Benhall.

Suffolk County Council, which owns the road, supports the project, but says it has little chance of securing funding from central Government in the current economic climate.

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But if energy giant EDF is given the go-ahead to build a new nuclear power station at Sizewell, it will be asked to contribute to local transport schemes – and local residents want to push the case for a bypass.

Last night, a spokeswoman for the company said: “EDF’s plans for Sizewell C are at an early stage and we are committed to ongoing dialogue, having held a number of meetings with local representatives ahead of the formal pre-application process.

“We are currently concentrating on various investigative studies which will inform our initial proposals.

“As part of this work, we are undertaking extensive transport studies which include analysis of sea, rail and road options.

“Without pre-empting the outcome of this research, we would like to deliver the majority of the heavy materials for a new power station to site by sea and rail if possible, in order to limit the impact on local roads, residents and businesses.

“The results of the transport studies, along with other investigative works we are undertaking, will inform our initial plans for the Sizewell C development.

“These proposals will be available for local people to see and give their feedback to EDF Energy on during our formal public consultation.”

But Judith Spatchett, who lives on the notorious “Farnham” bend and has been campaigning for a bypass since the 1980s, said improvements were needed whatever happened.

“What about the construction workers? I know there would be a camp on [the Sizewell C] site, but I wouldn’t have thought all of them will stay there,” she said.

“Those that travel to work aren’t going to be using rail or sea – they’ll come by road.

“A bypass will still be desperately needed. Also, they’re still going to need large lorries to take the materials off the trains. They will have to get up there from somewhere and will more than likely come through the villages.”

To back the campaign for a bypass, fill in the coupon or visit www.eadt.co.uk/bypass4thevillages.

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