'Democracy has been stifled': Councillor criticises Copdock consulation

Copdock Interchange is a major bottleneck for traffic heading to the ports and to London from Suffolk

Copdock Interchange is a major bottleneck for traffic heading to the ports and to London from Suffolk. Options to improve it include widening the circulatory carriageway, or building a link road connecting the A12 (South) with the A14 (East). - Credit: Archant / Suffolk County Council

A councillor has accused National Highways of stifling democracy during the Copdock junction consultation. 

In October the national road management body put forward two options to improve the junction, which suffers from congestion and frequent delays. 

The first option would be to provide free-flowing left turn lanes at three of the four entry arms. 

The second option – referred to as option four by National Highways – would involve building a free-flow link road, connecting the southbound A12 with the eastbound A14, reducing traffic at the junction. 

Christopher Hudson, councillor for Belstead Brook, said the latter now seems the most likely course of action.

However, he said that neither option would be satisfactory to the people he represents. 

“The so-called consultation has really turned into an ultimatum,” he said, adding that he had received over 300 emails from concerned residents. 

Most Read

“Two out of three people were opposed to option four, which seems to be banged back on the agenda. 

“There will be no real improved access to Ipswich. We're going to spend hundreds of billions of pounds, but it won’t access the county town. It more or less bypasses it.  

“I would have liked to have seen many more options put before the people. 

“The way that people were invited to engage with National Highways was very dainty, a few people meeting in a room. 

“What they didn’t want was 500 people, expressing alternative options. That would have been real democracy. 

“So, democracy has been stifled.” 

Planning for the Copdock Interchange is still in preliminary stages, and funding has not yet been granted by the Department for Transport. 

James Goodman, National Highways Project Manager, said: "The recent A14 J55 Copdock Interchange consultation was intended for people who live, work and travel in and around the junction to have their say on the improvement proposals under consideration.  

“During the six-week consultation, we provided opportunities for local residents, businesses, landowners, local MPs and local authorities/community organisations to engage with the process.   

"We received more than 800 formal responses to the consultation which has been consolidated and summarised in our consultation report, and we continue to review the scheme alongside the Department for Transport.”