Sudbury bypass described as the key to the town’s prosperity
- Credit: Gregg Brown
A bypass is the “key to prosperity in Sudbury”, it has been claimed, but so far the route has not been included in an official blueprint mapping out the future of the area over the next 20 years.
Babergh officers are currently consulting the public about a new planning policy framework which will add detail to an overarching core strategy document identifying sites for large scale housing, employment and infrastructure projects across the district.
But although the strategy formally recognises key development sites such as the 1,250-home Chilton Woods and the need for a further 500 homes east of Sudbury, a bypass deemed crucial by many to cope with the huge influx of associated traffic, is not in either document.
At a meeting this week, Babergh planning and policy officer Bill Newman warned Sudbury town councillors they could lose the chance of a bypass unless they created a compelling and robust argument for why it should be built.
He said: “The bypass holds the key to prosperity in Sudbury but who will take the county, district or town councils’ pleas seriously if the route doesn’t appear in the local plan?”
“The original route for a bypass put forward in 2004 was protected under the 2006 local plan but wasn’t picked up in the core strategy which was ratified by a planning inspector last year.
“As the 2006 plan will soon be replaced by the new local plan, protection of the route will be lost for future generations if it’s not included.”
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Sudbury planning committee member Jack Owen said there was “real concern” about the impact of development on such a large scale without the necessary infrastructure in place.
He added: “The road system is totally inadequate and at most times of the day, there is a good chance traffic will get held up somewhere in Sudbury.
“It is absolutely imperative that we push for a bypass so that it gets added to the new local plan and core strategy.”
Jan Osborne, planning committee chair, said Sudbury had reached its “tipping point” in terms of the amount of traffic it could take. She added: “My view is that we need a bypass before any new development takes place.”
There are three proposed bypass routes up for discussion. Once the council has identified a preferred option, a case for funding will need to be developed.
Although Suffolk County Council had previously dismissed the idea of a bypass due to the cost, the method of securing government funding for such projects has changed.
The council has recently indicated it will back the idea of seeking funding via the Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which is for projects that boost economic growth. Mr Newman said Sudbury would have a better chance of securing funding if it could prove that a bypass would boost economic development in the town.
Sudbury Town Council now hopes to form a “bypass task force” to build the case.
Babergh’s local plan should be complete by the end of the year and will then be forwarded to a government planning inspector for approval.