Suffolk’s £133m bid for Four Villages by-pass to open in Spring of 2023

Campaigners in favour of the bypass in Farnham. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Campaigners in favour of the bypass in Farnham. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk County Council hopes to be able to build a new £133m dual carriageway bypass around four villages in east Suffolk in just over five years’ time.

The business case for the “Four Villages Bypass” on the A12 between Wickham Market and Saxmundham has now been submitted to the government – and officials at Endeavour House hope to get a decision from the government by late spring.

If the Department for Transport agrees to fund the scheme – and it will be up against proposals from other parts of the country – a planning application would be submitted in April next year, work could start in April 2021 and the first vehicles could use the new road in April 2023.

The county council is asking for the government to finance a dual carriageway road that would run for four miles linking the end of the Wickham Market bypass near Marlesford with the start of the Saxmundham by-pass near Farnham.

It would include remodelling the junction to Aldeburgh and Leiston – the A1094 – and the junction to Wickham Market.

The county council also includes details of the cheaper single carriageway bypass which is estimated to cost just over £88m. Those costs are higher than quoted last September when the estimate was £100m for a dual carriageway and £50m for a single carriageway road.

That would follow a slightly different route to a dual carriageway – both routes would be slightly to the east of the existing A12 between that road and the East Suffolk Rail Line.

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The county council carried out a public consultation exercise with local residents and road users. This showed that the overwhelming majority of those who expressed a preference said the dual carriageway option would be better than a single carriageway.

A total of 43% of those who took part in the consultation felt that the current road network had a negative impact on the local area.

About a sixth of those who responded said there should be no new road built because of the environmental damage it would cause to the Suffolk countryside. Just under a third expressed not preference

The county council is now branding the proposal to by-pass Farnham, Stratford St Andrew, Little Glemham and Marlesford as the

SEGWay Scheme (Suffolk Energy GateWay) and is still hoping to get support from businesses – especially the energy sector – which would benefit from an improved A12 to the coast.

Widespread welcome for dual carriageway option

All four of the villages on the current route of the A12 backed the proposal to build a dual carriageway bypass.

Marlesford said it only supported the dual carriageway option while Little Glemham said the dual carriageway would be necessary to cope with increased traffic to Sizewell C.

Farnham and Stratford St Andrew Parish Council favoured the dual carriageway – but said the single carriageway route would be acceptable if it took traffic out of their villages.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said a dual carriageway would bring significant environmental and economic benefits to Suffolk and the region as a whole by improving the links to this part of the county.

However there were environmental concerns about the impact of a new bypass expressed by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and the Suffolk Preservation Society who were concerned about the landscape and woodland.

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