Suffolk MPs seek early talks over plans to upgrade A14
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Suffolk MPs have asked for a meeting with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to discuss improvements to the county’s major road network.
They will be calling for a quick decision by Highways England to upgrade the A14 from Felixstowe to the Cambridgeshire border near Newmarket.
And they are to work with their Essex colleagues to press the case for speeding up improvements to the A12 in Essex which are currently expected to take nearly a decade to complete.
Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said all his colleagues, including newly-elected Ipswich Conservative Tom Hunt, had been in touch over the weekend to discuss the improvements.
This follows our call for the region to keep pressing Boris Johnson and the Conservatives to make good on pledges made during the 2019 General Election campaign.
Dr Poulter said: "We know the main road issue facing us in Suffolk is making improvements to the A14 junctions - particularly at Copdock (where the A12 meets it).
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"We have asked for a meeting with Grant Shapps and we hope to take this campaign to him. We need to keep up the pressure on this."
At the start of the campaign Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would be asking Mr Shapps to talk to local MPs about the road which is the key route from the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich to the midlands and north of England.
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The Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has been leading calls for improvements to the A14 with its "No More Delays" campaign. A spokesman said: "We wrote to all of Suffolk's MPs over the weekend reminding them of the business community's various infrastructure asks, of which the A14 - Britain's Premier trade Route - is paramount.
"Therefore, it's really encouraging to hear their collective plans to engage quickly with the Secretary of State to ensure that these much-needed improvements are confirmed as early as possible in 2020."
Dr Poulter said MPs would also be keeping up the pressure for a new West Suffolk Hospital as part of the government's proposal for 40 new or rebuilt hospitals over the next 10 years.
He said the fact that Health Secretary Matt Hancock knew West Suffolk Hospital as the MP of a constituency whose residents relied on it for their care should ensure that it remained on civil servants' radar.
Dr Poulter added: "As health secretary he would not be able to directly make any decision on the West Suffolk, and neither would Jo (Churchill, junior health minister and Bury St Edmunds MP) but I will also make representations because some of my constituents use the hospital and I'm sure the department will be aware that the ministers know what is happening there."