Suffolk public offers ‘positive’ response to long-awaited A12 four villages bypass project during consultation exhibition

Bypass consultation exhibition held at the Riverside Centre, Stratford St Andrew. Picture: GREGG BRO

Bypass consultation exhibition held at the Riverside Centre, Stratford St Andrew. Picture: GREGG BROWN.

The first of two exhibition sessions detailing options for a new bypass on the A12 in Suffolk was held yesterday – with about 70 people attending.

Suffolk County Council invited people to the Riverside Centre in Stratford St Andrew to learn more about the two possible routes for the four villages bypass as part of its consultation, which began last week.

Both routes would see the A12 moved away from the villages of Marlesford, Little Glemham Stratford St Andrew and Farnham, where people have been calling for a bypass for more than 20 years.

Debbi Tayler, a spokesman for the A12 Bypass Group, said it was encouraging that the consultations were taking place and urged more people to attend the second exhibition on Saturday.

“As a community, we feel very positive about recent developments,” she added.

“There’s still a long way to go but it’s good start.”

The options presented as part of the consultation include a 60mph single carriageway and 70mph dual carriageway. Both would leave the existing A12 heading north from Wickham Market where the current dual carriageway ends and rejoin it at Friday Street, where a new roundabout is proposed.

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The single carriageway has been costed at £50m, whereas the dual option would be £100m. Funding would come 80% from Government with the county and district councils and New Anglia LEP covering the remainder.

Cllr Alexander Nicoll, Suffolk County Council’s member with special responsibility for highways information, said: “Around 70 people have attended the event today, which is good considering it’s in the middle of the week. The majority of people we’ve spoke with today have been positive and I look forward to talking to others about the consultation at the next event on Saturday.”

Campaigners’ initial reaction to the proposals last week was one of enthusiasm – though the dual option is seen as far preferable.

Lord Marlesford, who has been involved in the campaign throughout, said it would “madness” to go with a single carriageway option.

As well as resolving long-standing traffic concerns in the four affected villages, the bypass is also hoped to benefit the economy. The scheme’s importance to both the nuclear and offshore wind farm industries led to its rebranding as Suffolk’s Energy Gateway.

It is also expected to support growth in other sectors.

Local businesses, however, have expressed some concern. Marlesford Farm Cafe, which is near to where the bypass begins, said previously that it was “extremely concerned” about the potential loss of passing trade.

The second exhibition is on Saturday, also at the Riverside Centre.

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