Suffolk: Transport wish-list . . . but limited funds for bold aspirations!
A new body set up to develop major transport improvements in Suffolk and Norfolk has set out its first list of possible schemes – but the funding on offer would only go a small way towards building them.
The Suffolk and Norfolk Local Transport Body (LTB) is made up of representative from the two county councils and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
The government is using the LEP to channel £39million to be spent on new transport projects in the area between 2015 and 2019.
It has produced a “long-list” of 56 possible projects ranging in scale from a contribution towards upgrading the A14 in Cambridgeshire (which has been estimated to cost £1.4bn) to building a new rail loop on the East Suffolk rail line at Wickham Market.
Many of the schemes on the list would cost more than the £39 million budget.
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Among the schemes proposed in Suffolk are the four villages by-pass on the A12 between Saxmundham and Wickham Market (the estimated cost of which is more than £50 million), the Eastern Relief Road in Bury St Edmunds, and new relief roads for Brandon and Haverhill.
Suffolk’s cabinet member with responsibility for transport Graham Newman accepted that the list would not be acheived quickly – but said the involvement of the LEP was crucial.
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“By using the LEP it means that schemes have to be justified in terms of their impact on enterprise and business, and not just on social grounds which is what councils are good at considering.
“This is a long list and we have yet to sit down and fully discuss what should be the priorities. It is early days for this.”
The LTB is asking for businesses, councils, and other interested groups to comment on which of the schemes should be a priority for funding by 12 July so it can draw up a shortlist of projects later in the summer.
Some of the projects have already been given government funding earlier in the summer – including the new Lowestoft northern spine road.