Pre-election plea for A12 bypass commitment

Campaigners highlighting the traffic problems on the A12 at Farnham

Campaigners highlighting the traffic problems on the A12 at Farnham - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk peer has urged the next government to make certain that a new nuclear power plant on the Suffolk coast comes with the promise of an A12 bypass.

Lord Marlesford gave his backing to a timely call for parliamentary and local election candidates to push for a commitment to divert the road around Marlesford, Little Glemham, Farnham and Stratford St Andrew, if Sizewell C gets the go-ahead.

The Conservative life peer wants the message to be ringing in the ears of those running for election as voters go to the polls today.

His plea supports an open letter from Marlesford Parish Council to Westminster and district council hopefuls, driving home demand for the Four Village Bypass which has been under discussion since 1987.

Lord Marlesford said EDF Energy’s proposal for a park and ride site in Hacheston was “absolutely mad”, and that suggestions for building a shorter bypass at Farnham were “absurd”.

The firm said it had developed its transport proposals based on discussions, studies and assessments carried out during initial consultation, and that more detail would be available in the second stage, due to begin later this year.

Marlesford Parish Council’s letter argues that the current state of the A12 was a “serious impediment” to plans for Lowestoft to become an enterprise zone, especially through the narrow winding roads of the four villages, where many stretches are restricted to 30 or 40mph. It also urges improvement of the A12 north of Ipswich.

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All candidates for MP, district council candidates and Suffolk County Council leaders will by now have received the letter, which states that: “Discussions with EDF regarding the bypass have not been productive.

“Suffolk should not be expected to put up with massive disruption for the convenience and financial interests of EDF.

“It is quite unreasonable to expect the construction of Sizewell to go ahead without the building of the Four Village Bypass as the need for the bypass is already evident today, even before the increase in traffic expected by the future development of Lowestoft and the construction of Sizewell C.”

Lord Marlesford said: “We want the new government and the new leadership of Suffolk County Council to make a firm direction for the Four Villages Bypass, and to make clear that there is support for getting EDF to make a contribution to the cost when the time comes.

“The suggestion of crossing sensitive farms in Farnham is absurd and we rejected the county council’s suggestion of a Farnham and Stratford bypass. The park and ride in Hacheston, in the context of development in Framlingham, with one link to the A12, is absolutely mad. We want EDF to abandon the idea.

“Whoever the government is, they will have to bargain very toughly if, as it seems, Sizewell C goes ahead.”

A spokesman for EDF Energy said: “It is important for us to take the time to fully understand the impacts the project could have on local communities and develop appropriate mitigation.

“We continue to listen to feedback from the local community and are aware of concerns around the potential traffic impacts on the villages around the A12 including the number of HGV movements.”