A12: Campaigners vow to fight for four village bypass

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to end decades of traffic misery along a narrow stretch of the A12 have vowed to continue to press the case for a much needed bypass.

It had been hoped power giant EDF Energy would fund the relief road around the four villages of Marlesford, Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Farnham as part of its plans for a Sizewell C nuclear power station. But the company has said that such a project cannot be justified - claiming traffic along the south-bound stretch would only increase by 5-15% should the plant go ahead, with most materials moved by sea or rail.

But the figures have been disputed by the Four Villages Bypass Group, which represents the parish councils of Marlesford, Little Glemham and Farnham with Stratford St Andrew. In a statement, members, who are set to meet with representatives from EDF on January 4, said they were “very concerned” that conclusions appear to have been reached on incomplete and inaccurate information.

“The need for a bypass around the four villages is a long standing one that requires an urgent solution”,” the statement reads. “EDF say that their view at this stage is that a full four villages bypass is not justified. There is very little robust information in the consultation documents to evidence EDF’s conclusions. Indeed the transport strategy document states that their view of the traffic impacts should be seen as ‘preliminary’, bearing in mind that comprehensive traffic modelling has not been completed and a range of further work is planned to refine and improve the model.”

The group claim that what modelling there has been is imprecise, with a range of uncertainties that will impact on traffic movements.

“EDF appear to have reached their conclusion that a full bypass is not required on this incomplete and inaccurate information,” their statement continues. “They say that the additional traffic generated by the construction and operation will represent only a modest addition to daily traffic flows even at peak construction. There is no empirical data in the consultation documents to back up this statement.”

Among the options being considered by EDF to ease traffic flows are building a short 1km bypass at Farnham to remove traffic from the tight bend in the middle of the village; widening the road at that point to enable easier access; or installing HGV traffic controls. However the bypass group believe none of these would solve any problems.

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Angela Piearce, head of Sizewell C development, said they were committed to an ongoing dialogue with residents, community groups and local authorities.

“We recognise the group representing Farnham, Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Marlesford are interested in EDF Energy’s transport strategy and the impact the project will have on the A12,” she said. “We held an exhibition in Stratford St Andrew which was attended by over 100 people, including representatives from the parish councils. We are pleased to have a further opportunity to meet with the bypass group in January so we can talk through the transport studies.”

The EADT has re-launched its Bypass 4 The Villages campaign, calling for a firm commitment to build the road. To show your support, fill in the coupon or visit www.eadt.co.uk/bypass4thevillages.