Suffolk: Bypass group to hold talks with MPs Dan Poulter and Therese Coffey tonight
PUBLISHED: 13:21 07 August 2014 | UPDATED: 13:21 07 August 2014
Campaigners for a bypass in east Suffolk are tonight stepping up pressure on politicians to resolve the transport "nightmare" that has plagued their communities for years.
Members of the Four Villages Bypass Campaign group will be meeting for long-awaited talks with MPs and seeking support for their calls to have the A12 diverted around Marlesford, Little Glemham, Farnham and Stratford St Andrew.
People living in the affected villages say congestion has reached intolerable levels and will only worsen if the Sizewell C nuclear power plant is approved.
The group’s calls for EDF Energy and the Department for Transport to commit funding for the scheme have so far failed.
During crunch talks tonight, campaigners will urge Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey and North Ipswich and Central Suffolk MP Dan Poulter to use their political power to reach a solution.
Debbi Tayler, clerk for Farnham with Stratford St Andrew Parish Council, said the meeting’s outcome would be “vital” in determining a solution.
“I think it’s essential that the MPs hear how important an issue this is among the community and I also think it’s important for us to hear from them what they are able and willing to do to help us achieve that,” she said.
“We’re hoping the MPs will be able to give us some proper support in our bid for the bypass and will offer to work with the county council, Department for Transport and EDF in finding a viable solution.”
Mrs Tayler said the group had grown increasingly frustrated by the lack of movement on the issue as the traffic “nightmare” continued to deteriorate and pose air pollution health risks to residents in the village.
County councillor Stephen Burroughes will also be attending, having pressed for a meeting with the MPs.
“The whole point of this meeting is to get the MPs together to put pressure on the roads minister and EDF to put their hand in their pocket for a complete solution rather than the piecemeal options that have been put forward so far,” he said. “We are not going to let them off the hook - they need to step up and it needs to be now not later.”
Lord Marlesford, a long-term supporter of the campaign, said he would be impressing upon MPs the importance of progressing the plans immediately while there are options of securing an element of funding through EDF.
“Both the MPs have at various times supported the bypass proposal so it’s now a matter of them talking to their colleagues in the department of transport to say this is the moment for the money to be allocated and allocated now,” he said.
Dr Poulter said the county council were the “key players” in getting the bypass, adding: “The point of the meeting is to impress upon the county council the importance of the infrastructure money to support the road improvements around the four villages.
“We need to listen to residents’ concerns and to then take the campaign to the county council that we need to have road improvements as part of Sizewell C.
“I’ll be making the point about rail improvements and also the visual impact of Sizewell C.
“We’re doing all we can and will continue to but it’s down to the leadership of the county council to make sure they work with us to deliver the best possible deal for the four villages.”
A spokesman for EDF Energy said the company would be undertaking a “robust transport assessment” to guide its Sizewell C Project. “This is detailed and important work, which takes into account objective data, responses to consultation and planning policy guidance,” the spokesman said.
The company will be prioritising sea and rail delivery and building a park and ride facility to take workers off the road.
Dr Coffey and county councillor Graham Newman, cabinet member for roads, transport and planning, were unavailable for comment.