West Suffolk roads earmarked for potential investment
PUBLISHED: 10:08 15 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:13 15 February 2019
A campaign to improve vital transport links across west Suffolk has been given a boost after three of the region's roads were earmarked for potential investment.
The A1307 between Haverhill and the A11 just outside Cambridge, and the A134 from Bury St Edmunds to Thetford and Sudbury have been included on the Major Roads Network (MRN) list.
The A142 from Newmarket into Cambridgeshire – which is a major link off of the A14 – has also been included.
This means the roads are eligible to bid for additional funding from the National Roads Fund, and £3.5billion has been set aside to be spent on local roads such as these in the country between 2020 and 2025.
Councillors in west Suffolk, together with partners such as MPs, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Suffolk County Council and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority have been lobbying hard for these roads to be included.
Lobbyists have argued the importance of these roads to not only the local economy and communities, but also nationally for trade.
Susan Glossop, cabinet member for planning and growth at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “This is excellent news and something we, with our partners, have been lobbying hard over. Good transport links are vital for the future prosperity and growth of our area.
“I welcome the fact that the Government has listened and this means we can now look at unlocking some of the extra money that this status brings.
“The A1307 is recognised as a vital link that needs improving and this will help this become a reality. The A134 links Suffolk to Essex and has been blighted by accidents. We hope that money can now be used to improve these roads.”
Lance Stanbury, cabinet member for planning and growth at Forest Heath District Council, said: “Anybody who has driven these roads knows how busy they are and the need to improve them. “We, with partners, have argued long and hard that they need to be given Major Roads Status.
“I am pleased to see that the Government have heard our arguments. Helping keep west Suffolk on the move so that people, goods and data can flow easily in our area is one of our top priorities.
“It not only helps our local economy, businesses and communities but also the UK as a whole. This builds on our work to get the A14 upgraded and in particular the junctions at Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds.
“We went to Westminster with Suffolk partners to make this point to the minister and the fact this stretch of the A14 is the premier UK trade route.”
John Mayhew, chairman of Suffolk Chamber in Haverhill and District, said: “It’s great news that the A1307 is on the MRN list and has made the grade in the government’s road investment plans. This key route for people and businesses is clearly not fit for present, leave alone future, purposes.
“However, being included in the DfT’s report is no guarantee that the A1307 will automatically attract the funding it needs to be upgraded.
“Our campaign must continue to build support from communities from across the three counties, including Essex, which it impacts upon.”
West Suffolk MP and health secretary MattHancock, who is chairman of the A1307 Strategy Board, said: “This is excellent news that the A1307 is being included in the Major Roads Network.
“The upgrade in the status of the road is really important to our long term campaign to get the road improved. I’m so pleased with all the work being done by the A1307 Strategy Board and Suffolk Chamber of Commerce to get us to this point.
“We need to keep up our campaign now to get the funding needed for improvements to the road to make it safer and with fewer traffic jams.”