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Public meeting over Upper Orwell Crossings to go ahead as planned – here are the details

PUBLISHED: 06:00 05 August 2018

An aerial view of the Upper Orwell Crossings.  Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

An aerial view of the Upper Orwell Crossings. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

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Campaign groups in Ipswich concerned about the impact of the Upper Orwell Crossings will press on with a public meeting - despite the project now being in doubt.

Campaigners from the Rivers Action Group. Picture: GREGG BROWNCampaigners from the Rivers Action Group. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The meeting had been organised for August 31 by the Wherstead Road Action Group and Rivers Action Group – two campaigns formed because of concerns surrounding the proposed Upper Orwell Crossing.

Last week Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks confirmed the project had been halted because of fears that costs may have soared, with an independent review now looking into it and reporting back by the end of September.

But groups representing locals’ fears have said they will continue to work until official confirmation that the bridge would not be going ahead.

Nicky Wilson, chairman of the Wherstead Road Action Group, said: “People are happy now thinking that it’s all over and done with, but we don’t know until the September date when we actually find out.

“People’s general feeling is breathing a sigh of relief. I have told people we are still having our meeting so that we can be ready if it goes ahead.”

The groups were formed in response to a series of concerns raised by residents around the Cliff Lane and Holywells area (RAG group) and the Wherstead Road side (WRAG).

Among those were fears that roads such as Cliff Lane could become a busy thoroughfare, and the environmental impacts on the air quality and wildlife from increased traffic on both sides of the river.

There was also anger at more than 3,000 letters going out asking for people’s interest in their property, with suggestions that compulsory purchase powers could be used, although the council later confirmed this was not going to be the case.

A consultation was expected to get underway this summer, although a clear date of when that was due to start was not clear.

Central government agreed to fund three quarters of the scheme, valued at £97million three years ago, with the rest coming from local sources.

The meeting will take place on Friday, August 31 at the Suffolk Food Hall conference room from 7.30pm.

Members of the public are invited to go along and share their thoughts.

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