Petition opposing bypass to go before council at meeting

Cattle at Sudbury water meadows Picture: ANGIE JONES

Cattle at Sudbury water meadows Picture: ANGIE JONES - Credit: Archant

A petition campaigning against a bypass in Sudbury – due to fears over its environmental impact on the town’s historic water meadows – will be presented to councillors this week.

Jack Owen

Jack Owen - Credit: Archant

More than 6,500 people have so far signed the document opposing a potential route for the new road, which campaigners believe will “destroy Gainsborough country”.

The petition will now go before Suffolk County Council at a full council meeting on Thursday after achieving more than the minimum number of 3,675 signatures to enable it to be presented to the authority.

Campaigners against the bypass say a proposed route from Melford Road would cut a large part of Sudbury off from the countryside and threaten wildlife and habitats.

But campaigners supporting the bypass scheme say the route has yet to be decided.

The petition reads: “The proposed bypass would wreck much of the countryside that makes Sudbury special. It would destroy Gainsborough country – the landscape which inspired the great artist. It’s an outdated plan which would do almost nothing to ease traffic in Sudbury.

“The meadows are Sudbury’s pride and joy and along with nearby footpaths they are the best free leisure facility available.

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“The proposed route runs from Melford Road on a raised embankment across three water meadows and cuts through the valley trail, the former railway line.

“This road would run through a designated environmentally sensitive area, and would cut a large part of Sudbury off from the countryside.”

Petitioners claim that all along the bypass, habitats and wildlife would be threatened – the ecology of the river banks would be harmed or destroyed and there would be an increased risk of flooding upstream and downstream. They added: “The tranquillity and beauty of the area would be lost forever.”

Former mayor and Labour county councillor Jack Owen, who is supporting the bypass, said: “I completely understand the concerns of people but the route has not been decided yet. They are looking at a number of options including routes to the west, south and east of town.

“What is clear though, is that something needs to be done. The alternative is standing still – and that is absolutely not an option. Something needs to be done.”

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