A12: New year, new energy for bypass drive
New year, new energy for bypass drive
WITH the beginning of a new year come fresh momentum in a long and hard-fought campaign
The prospect of a new power station at Sizewell C has offered new impetus to our Bypass 4 the Villages campaign, with residents repeating calls to end decades of traffic misery on the A12, and local authorities lending extra emphasis to the cause.
Energy company EDF has argued that the potential increase in traffic along the road south of Sizewell would not be enough to justify the construction of a major bypass around Farnham, Stratford St Andrew, Little Glemham and Marlesford.
But campaigners remain insistent that a new highway is needed between Wickham Market and the Friday Street junction at Benhall.
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Suffolk Coastal District Council has amplified calls for developers to invest in local transport infrastructure if proposals for Sizewell C are approved. Andy Smith, cabinet member for planning, said: “We have said many times that if there is to be a new power station at Sizewell C, then we must do all we can to minimise the disadvantages from the project.
“The most obvious of these is the heavy traffic which would have to pass through our area, on a road which certainly at Farnham and the neighbouring villages is utterly unsuitable for it.
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“The road is just not fit for purpose for this volume of traffic on top of what it has already, especially the hundreds of HGVs every day which will be needed.”
EDF declared it is willing to discuss improving the road network, but felt the bypass was not necessary as part of the power station’s construction.
It said most of the heavy equipment would arrive by sea or by train, and that it planned to create two park and ride sites for workers on the A12, to the north and the south of Leiston.
Residents of the four villages have long campaigned for a bypass to ease the impact of thousand of vehicles travelling along the A12 every day.
Funding for the scheme was pulled at the eleventh hour in 1996 after a public inquiry gave the scheme the go-ahead.
The possibility of a major construction project on the Suffolk coast has given rise to some of the most emphatic support the campaign has received to date.
Mr Smith concluded: “EDF must work with us to find the solution for that, and meet the widespread local support for a proper bypass for the four villages. Their current proposal just does not do that, and there is minimal information in their documents for us even to check or discuss. They must do better, soon, before the current consultation closes on February 6.”