Town faces long wait for bypass

A TRAFFIC-choked town has been told it might have to wait at least 15 years for a bypass to ease congestion.

Dave Gooderham

A TRAFFIC-choked town has been told it might have to wait at least 15 years for a bypass to ease congestion.

Community leaders in Sudbury have been calling for a relief road to take heavy goods vehicles away from its historic town centre for 40 years.

But at a packed public meeting on Thursday night, they were warned that their renewed efforts to bring the issue up the agenda would probably end in disappointment.

The meeting, which attracted more than 100 people and was chaired by Lord Phillips of Sudbury, was organised by the Sudbury Society which said traffic concerns was among its priorities.

After the meeting, society chairman Nick Hallidie said: “We are pleased with the turnout but saddened by the fact that a relief road in Sudbury is so far down the list of priorities.

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“If anything major does happen in the town, it will not be for a long time.

“We are told it would take between seven and 10 years to build and it is unlikely to be decided until 2013. It was pretty demoralising.”

Mr Hallidie, who described traffic problems in the town as “chaotic”, has now called on Suffolk County Council to carry out surveys and look at more short-term measures.

But he warned: “I think about 80% of the town think a relief road is the only long-term solution.

“The council can fiddle around in the town with small measures but I don't think it will solve the main problem.”

The meeting also heard from Guy McGregor, portfolio holder for roads and transport for Suffolk County Council, as well as Barry Wall, chairman of Sudbury History Society, who claimed parts of the town's street system was dated to the 10th Century.

Residents and councillors who attended the meeting also raised the issue of weight restrictions of vehicles in the town and problems caused by satellite navigation systems.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr McGregor said: “We spent a considerable time at the meeting going through the issues and what the situation was.

“In terms of the county council's priority, I can say a bypass at Sudbury is a top priority for us.

“But we need to first make conditions better in the immediate future and get as many HGVs out of this historic town as possible.”

Mr McGregor said �250,000 had been set aside to improve the Belle Junction in the town while the bus station would be “reinvigorated”.

The East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) warned a lack of Government funding meant only a small number of new transport schemes getting the go-ahead over the next decade with Sudbury unlikely to be chosen when the authority meets later this month to prioritise the schemes before submitting its recommendations to the Government.

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