New hope for long-awaited bypass

A PRIVATE finance deal could help build a long-awaited bypass around one of Suffolk's most traffic choked towns.

James Mortlock

A PRIVATE finance deal could help build a long-awaited bypass around one of Suffolk's most traffic choked towns.

MP Richard Spring, a long-time campaigner for the Brandon relief road, is meeting with influential town businessman Giles de Lotbiniere today to discuss the initiative.

Mr Spring said the boss of Lignacite Ltd - one of Brandon's biggest firms - had contacted him asking for an urgent meeting to discuss the deal and the West Suffolk MP said that while he was still in the dark about the exact proposal he would welcome anything which would bring about a bypass.

He said: “Mr de Lotbiniere believes he has found a private finance solution to this. He believes he can bring a group together to fund the road with private money.

“Suffolk County Council has accepted the Brandon bypass is one of the two road schemes in the county which are central but there is a limit to finances so if there is some way of private finance working with local authority finance then I think that is something everyone will welcome. I would applaud this initiative.”

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Mr Spring said traffic chaos, pollution and damage to homes caused by heavy lorries thundering through the town - particularly on London Road - had gone on for too long: “This (bypass) is highly overdue. Brandon is the biggest town in Suffolk without a bypass and the congestion in the town is impossible.

“As a local businessman Mr de Lotbiniere experiences at first hand the traffic problems every day of the week. I look forward to having a full discussion with him about this and to working with the local community to bring about a much-needed bypass.”

Tony Simmons, Forest Heath district councillor for the town, described the initiative as “wonderful”.

He said: “I would certainly encourage Giles and Richard with this plan and would be very happy to back it and to encourage Forest Heath to do the same.”

He said encouraging signs that the A11 between the Fiveways roundabout at Barton Mills and Thetford would be dualled over the next few years could mean an easing of the situation in Brandon but he believed a bypass was still necessary: “It's something residents have been campaigning about for 30 years - and that's a very long while.”

Mr Simmons said that while bypassing the town centre could hit trade, the current traffic-choked situation was no-good for drivers, businesses or residents.

Mr de Lotbiniere was not available for comment at the weekend.