Suffolk: 500 sign up for A12 bypass campaign

MORE than 500 people have now backed the EADT’s campaign to improve safety on a dangerous stretch of the A12.

The Bypass 4 The Villages campaign was launched a month ago to call for action on a long-awaited scheme to end decades of traffic misery for the villages of Marlesford, Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Farnham.

Residents have to put up with heavy traffic, including HGVs, thundering along the narrow, single stretch of carriageway through the villages.

The impact upon their quality of life has become intolerable as traffic levels have increased and the EADT has spearheaded calls for movement on the plan to build a bypass from the Wickham Market junction to the Friday Street junction at Benhall.

Support for the campaign has come from far and wide – from the immediate affected area to across Suffolk to further afield. One response had a Middlesbrough address.

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Peter Norris, who lives on the notorious “Farnham bend” and wrote a startling article for the EADT on his daily experiences of the A12, said: “People genuinely didn’t believe how bad it has become.

“It has been an eye-opener. And this is not just for the people who live here – the A12 is very important to this part of the county and the state of it affects everyone who passes through.

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“It’s important we keep the pressure up.”

Campaigners know not to get their hopes up – complaints about the road go back to the 1920s and a bypass has been talked about since the 1960s, with an agreed scheme axed by the Government in 1996 – but many believe now is the best chance to secure a breakthrough.

Suffolk County Council, which owns the road, supports the project but says it has little chance of securing funding from central Government in the current economic climate.

But if energy giant EDF is given the go-ahead to build a new nuclear power station at Sizewell, it will be asked to contribute to local transport schemes – and local residents want to push the case for a bypass. EDF has said it will listen to the views of local people on the matter.

Not everyone has supported the campaign – some readers have contacted us to oppose the plans – but the EADT believes the bypass needs to be built, regardless of any other development, as the road through the villages is totally unsuitable for the main route between Ipswich and Lowestoft.

Guy McGregor, county council cabinet member for transport, said he would be convening a meeting with local councillors and campaigners to decide the best way forward on the bypass.

He said the need for the bypass was long established but it was unlikely the council would get money from the Government to build it, so pressure had to be put on EDF. “I want to make sure we get the best deal for east Suffolk,” he said.

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