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New bid to get government to take over Suffolk’s A12 route

PUBLISHED: 19:00 02 February 2020

Traffic on the A12 at Stratford St Andrew. Suffolk MPs want Highways England to take over the road. Picture: ARCHANT

Traffic on the A12 at Stratford St Andrew. Suffolk MPs want Highways England to take over the road. Picture: ARCHANT

Three Suffolk MPs have asked the government to take back control of the A12 in the county – amid concerns over a lack of investment and recognition of its strategic importance.

Dr Dan Poulter has sent the letter with Dr Coffey and Mr Aldous. Picture: PAUL GEATERDr Dan Poulter has sent the letter with Dr Coffey and Mr Aldous. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Until 1997 the road was managed by the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency - but in that year it was transferred, along with the A140, to Suffolk County Council's management.

Since then, however, there has been growth in the communities along the road, but Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich's Dr Dan Poulter and Waveney MP Peter Aldous believe it should now be taken over by Highways England to become once again part of the country's strategic road network.

They have written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to ask for a meeting to discuss the move - and Dr Poulter felt that since its transfer the strategic importance of the road had been forgotten.

He said: "The A12 is absolutely crucial to access the Energy Coast at Lowestoft and if Sizewell is to be built. We need to have Highways England responsible for this road to ensure it gets the investment it needs."

The letter from Suffolk MPs to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. Picture: DR DAN POULTERThe letter from Suffolk MPs to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. Picture: DR DAN POULTER

The letter says: "The strategic importance of the A12 for eastern Suffolk cannot be over-stated and we therefore consider it to be more appropriate for the road to be readopted within the remit of Highways England.

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"This will enable the MPs to more strongly advocate for investment in the A12 for the economic benefit of east Suffolk, and for the benefit of the residents we represent."

Their campaign is backed by locally-based peer Lord Marlesford who said the lack of investment in the road was now very serious: "We have lost out on the funding for the Four Villages bypass which is absolutely crucial.

"In fact we have seen no investment in the road since the county council took it over."

Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for highways Andrew Reid said the authority would be happy to talk about transferring the road: "We are of course happy to be part of any discussions about re-trunking the A12 and are naturally very supportive of the efforts from local MPs to ensure there are improvements to the A12.

"In addition, Suffolk County Council has made bids for funding for improvements to the A12, including dualling the single carriageway section at Woodbridge and for further improvements East of Ipswich around Martlesham. This would allow for additional work beyond the £20 million worth of improvements we have already successfully secured from the Government.

"Whilst we have to work within the constraints of Government funding rules and housing allocations from district and borough councils, we will always do everything we can to improve and maintain Suffolk's road infrastructure for residents and businesses."

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