Greens angered by Stowmarket transport

PUBLIC transport in a market town has been criticised by a Green MEP candidate for the region.The Green Party's eastern region European election candidate, Margaret Wright, has been on a fact-finding mission to Stowmarket.

By John Howard

PUBLIC transport in a market town has been criticised by a Green MEP candidate for the region.

The Green Party's eastern region European election candidate, Margaret Wright, has been on a fact-finding mission to Stowmarket.

Ms Wright watched at the railway station as passengers struggled over the footbridge with bicycles and luggage, unaware the adjacent level crossing offered any easier alternative without a simple sign directing people.


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Outside the station, the lack of a pedestrian route across the forecourt was pointed out to her and on the broader issue of investment in road and rail, Ms Wright deplored the poor services between Ipswich and Cambridge, comparing rail investment with the freely available cash to continually upgrade the A14 to approach motorway standards.

She said: "I am really shocked at the lack of facilities for bus passengers. Every authority has policies to encourage the use of public transport, yet nothing seems to be provided in Stowmarket.

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"For a town of this size, there should be proper covered waiting areas, with seating, more information and visible signs to help passengers. There is just a sense that they do not matter."

John Matthissen, a Green Party spokesman, said: "It was equally difficult to find cycling facilities for the Green Party candidate to see, given that the county's lone cycling officer is fully occupied struggling to make progress in other towns across Suffolk.''

Julian Swainson, a county councillor who serves on the executive committee and has the portfolio for sustainable environment, planning and transport, said: "We have been looking at alternatives to improve public transport facilities in the town and we will continue to purse options.

"We are pressing the Strategic Rail Authority to maintain and improve the level of services to and from Stowmarket and for a more regular Ipswich to Cambridge service.

"There are ongoing plans to develop cycle routes in and around the town and major new cycling facilities are planned."

A spokesman for the First Eastern bus company said they believed wherever there are bus stops with cases for timetables, the up to date information is displayed.

But they would happily investigate any bus stops where there are concerns the information is not available. He added that bus shelters are the responsibility of the county council.

A spokesman for Anglia Railways said they had hoped to gain more funding from the Strategic Rail authority for increased services on the Cambridge to Ipswich line, but had been turned down. She said they will look at better signage at the station and added that they have done a lot to improve services, increasing frequency of trains on the main line and better waiting facilities at stations.

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