Councillors approach transport minister Robert Goodwill for £1.5m Suffolk Energy Gateway funding

Some members of the Four Villages Bypass group campaigning in Farnham in 2014

Some members of the Four Villages Bypass group campaigning in Farnham in 2014 - Credit: Archant

A campaign to bring an A12 bypass project to divert traffic away from four Suffolk villages took a step forward on Monday night as central Government was appraoched for £1.5m in funding towards the scheme.

Suffolk County councillor Guy McGregor and deputy leader of Suffolk Coastal District Council, Geoff Holdcroft, visited transport minister Robert Goodwill in London to discuss the continued need for the Suffolk Energy Gateway, formerly known as the four villages bypass, which would run from Ipswich to Lowestoft.

Initial plans for the new road are being explored ahead of the construction of Sizewell C power station at Leiston. Campaigners argue that it is the only way to resolve long-standing problems with congestion, emission levels and accidents in the villages of Stratford St Andrew, Farnham, Marlesford and Little Glemham. Since the de-trunking of the road in 2001, pinch points have developed along particular stretches of the A12 where HGVs and agricultural vehicles are limited to slow speeds on winding sections of the road.

Monday’s meeting was called by the two councillors to keep the focus for A12 improvements high on the Department for Transport’s agenda. While government funding was not secured, Mr Goodwill demonstrated great support for the scheme following a presentation by Mr McGregor and Mr Holdcroft, and has vowed to visit the existing A12 route to learn more of the on-going issues. Representatives from EDF, the developer behind Sizewell C, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and MPs Therese Coffey, Dan Poulter and Peter Aldous also attended.

Mr McGregor said: “We believe this will be a scheme of significant and national importance.

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“The minister, having heard our presentation, was unable at this stage to make the money available to us, however was receptive to it and has offered to come personally to east Suffolk to see the whole of the route. I’m exploring other means whereby this particular piece of work can be funded and am confident we will be able to carry on with the work. I believe I have found a way that the next stage of the money can be found without a further call on the hard pressed council tax payers of Suffolk.

“We didn’t achieve our objective, but we weren’t vanquished from the field.”

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