Sizewell C: Villagers vow to continue to fight for A12 bypass
COMMUNITIES living in four villages on the busy A12 last night vowed to continue their fight for a bypass in an attempt to end decades of traffic misery.
It had been hoped that EDF Energy would finance the project around Marlesford, Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Franham as part of its proposals for a new Sizewell C nuclear power station.
But the company has said that this cannot be justified as traffic along the A12 south would only increase by only 5-15% should the development go ahead.
Instead it has put forward three options: building a short 1km bypass at Farnham to remove traffic from the tight bend in the middle of the village, widening the road at that point to enable easier access or installing HGV traffic controls.
Residents living in the four villages have been campaigning for decades in a bid to get a bypass, a project that was axed at the eleventh hour in 1996.
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Jacci Churchman, who lived on the A12 at Farnham for 30 years before recently moving closer to the village church, said a full bypass was the only solution.
“Widening the road is a ridiculous idea because if you do that then you would have to knock down houses - and then you wouldn’t be left with any village at all,” she said. “Similarly, traffic controls have tried and failed. We had some signs put up a little while ago and one of those has already been knocked down and not replaced.
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“The only sensible solution is for a four village bypass. We all have the same problem. I know EDF have said HGV journeys won’t increase that much - but what about the workers? Those that don’t live on site have got to come from somewhere. When Sizewell B was being built we had huge lorries coming past. I can’t see that there won’t be an increase in traffic.”
Peter Norris, who lives on the notorious “Farnham bend”, described the proposal for traffic controls as a “non starter”. “We have tried that before and it just doesn’t work,” he said. He also said he would “fight tooth and nail” to prevent the road being widened and people losing their homes.
“A complete bypass would be the first choice in an ideal world,” he said. “There is not a decent road in the whole of east Suffolk - the journey times between Ipswich and Lowestoft are laughable. It’s desperately needed.
“However in the current economic climate we need to do something that’s achievable and maybe the four village bypass isn’t. In which case a bypass for Farnham might be the best solution. Farnham is the sticking point - that’s where two HGVs just can’t pass each other.”
Peter Chaloner, chairman of Little Glemham Parish Council, said he was disappointed that a full bypass was not included but regarded the initial proposals very much as an opening of negotiations. “I don’t think anyone realistically thought they would offer it without a fight,” he said.
Lord Marlesford, chairman of Marlesford Parish Council, said it was decided a long time ago that a “piecemeal” bypass was the wrong thing to do. “The chancellor and the secretary of state for transport have said they want to find shovel ready schemes to improve Britain’s infrastructure - this is an ideal moment for the four villages bypass.”
Richard Mayson, director of planning and external affairs, nuclear new build, at EDF Energy, said all views would be taken into account during the public consultation.
“We are looking forward to talking to people in the local communities in Suffolk and with other stakeholders about our proposals,” he said. “I urge everyone to play an active role in this consultation process. We are committed to giving your feedback serious consideration and will take it into account as we prepare detailed plans for Sizewell C.”