Minister told of Suffolk’s road needs for the future
Business leaders and local politicians have taken Suffolk’s case for more spending on the county’s major roads to transport minister Andrew Jones.
Representatives of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce – which launched a campaign for No More A14 Delays earlier this year – joined officials from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and Suffolk County Council at a dinner organised by Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey to raise concerns with Mr Jones.
Suffolk Chamber chief executive John Dugmore said the meeting gave businesses the chance to explain why it was vital for the county’s roads to be upgraded.
He said: “Suffolk and our neighbours collectively are a net contributor to the UK economy but have not benefitted historically from the levels of public investment that would enable us to deliver yet more for UK plc.
“Therefore the meeting with Andrew Jones was an important opportunity to have an open and productive dialogue around the key road transport issues affecting Suffolk-based and national businesses and, in turn, the local and national economies.”
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Mr Dugmore said the minister was told the No More A14 Delays in Suffolk would support the delivery of 45,000 jobs, and 28,000 homes in the county and boost its economy by £362million a year.
The campaign wants to see major improvements to the road around Ipswich, including a fully grade-separated junction at the Copdock Mill interchange, and extra lanes between Wherstead and Copdock and between the Claydon and Whitehouse interchanges.
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And they want to see improvements at junctions between Rougham and to the west of Bury St Edmunds.
Dr Coffey said: “The A14 is a vital corridor not only for Suffolk, but for the whole country. Businesses rely on goods coming into the Port of Felixstowe being transported in a quick and efficient manner, something the road is not currently delivering on.
“With 40% of the UK’s container trade coming into Felixstowe and the future development of Sizewell C on the horizon, we made the case to the minister that Suffolk is being asked to take a significant burden for the good of the country and there must be appropriate investment infrastructure to support this.”
The case for investment in Suffolk infrastructure leading to economic growth was explained to the minister with examples such as the construction of a business case for the dualling of the A1307 in order to address the isolation of Haverhill businesses and support the development of 8,000 jobs and 4,000 homes.
The strategic importance of the A12 north of Ipswich to the construction and servicing of Sizewell C nuclear power station was also highlighted at the dinner.
Chris Starkie, managing director of the LEP, said: “This was an excellent opportunity for the minister to hear first-hand how investing in infrastructure in Suffolk will return multiple benefits to the economy of the East and the UK economy.”
Suffolk County Council cabinet member for transport James Finch said: “There are a number of significant infrastructure projects needed to help unlock Suffolk’s potential economic development in years to come. This meeting was an excellent opportunity to share the importance of these with the roads minister to keep Suffolk’s key projects on the national priority list.”