Date set for launch of new task force aimed at getting Ipswich moving
The new task group attempting to come up with measures to improve Ipswich’s traffic problems will meet for the first time on April 3 – with the scope of its work having been set out.
The group, set up in the wake of Suffolk County Council's decision not to pursue a northern bypass, is to be chaired jointly by MPs Tom Hunt and Dr Dan Poulter, and has now revealed its first meeting will be on Friday, April 3.
MORE: Task force to be formed to address Ipswich traffic issuesThe other confirmed members are Suffolk County Council cabinet members Paul West and Andrew Reid, as well as two seats for Ipswich Borough Council, and a seat each for East Suffolk Council; Babergh and Mid Suffolk Council; Ipswich Central; Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and two additional members to be decided by the task force members once they meet.
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said: 'I am very keen to get going with it.
'This task group needs to be about action and delivery, and not another talking shop.'
'We need real change and I am determined to play my part in that.'
He added: 'The task force should have a role in keeping Highways England's feet to the fire [with the Orwell Bridge], and making sure that this really is the last winter season of closures.
'We will call Highways England to one of our meetings fairly soon.'
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The terms of reference sets out the task force's remit, which includes looking at existing plans for Ipswich and current demands on the road network, as well as considering bus and rail service possibilities, cycling options, economic benefits improvements would bring, and identifying funding opportunities for any improvements.
A series of monthly meetings have been organised beginning on April 3, but could meet at other times if needed as well.
MORE: MPs to head up Ipswich traffic task forceThe task force was announced last month by county council leader Matthew Hicks after the cabinet opted not to pursue work on an Ipswich northern route.
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While the business case and economic benefits of a route were considered to be compelling, more than two thirds of public consultation respondents were against the proposals, and it failed to secure the backing of Babergh, Mid Suffolk and East Suffolk councils which would have been required to take a share of the 15,000 homes required to make it possible.