Villagers want pledge over A12 link road
CAMPAIGNERS are seeking assurances a long-awaited link road for a Suffolk village will get the go-ahead.There are fears the scheme, in Capel St Mary, near Ipswich, could have come to the end of the road after a long-running fight.
CAMPAIGNERS are seeking assurances a long-awaited link road for a Suffolk village will get the go-ahead.
There are fears the scheme, in Capel St Mary, near Ipswich, could have come to the end of the road after a long-running fight.
It has prompted a cross-party group of councillors to write to roads minister David Jamieson to ask for his support in pressing ahead with the scheme as soon as possible.
The new road would reunite Old London Road and the main chunk of the village, after the two were effectively split when the A12 was dualled 40 years ago.
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It would also lead to the gap in the central reservation of the A12 at Pound Lane, which allows a route for traffic between Old London Road and the village, being closed.
But objections have been raised to the scheme, which could see the matter going to a public inquiry.
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County councillor Kathy Pollard (Lib Dem) and Babergh councillors Gerald White (Con) and Sue Carpendale (Lib Dem) are demanding answers about the link road – and want a deadline of the end of this month for negotiations between the Highways Agency and the objectors to end.
"We have real concerns for the safety of local residents as well as other A12 road users on this busy stretch of trunk road and we will not take no for an answer," said Mrs Pollard.
Mr White added: "We have not got this far only to give up now. We are determined to put as much pressure on the Government as is needed to ensure the completion of the scheme."
Residents have been campaigning for the link road since 1990, when a road underpass at Capel was completed and the Highways Agency announced it was to close the gap in the A12 central reservation.
The agency agreed to build the road but, 14 years on, it has still not become a reality, and local residents and councillors have continued to campaign.
Mrs Carpendale said: "These residents (in Old London Road) use all the local facilities – shops, churches and the village school.
"They should be reunited with the rest of the village. A road scheme cut them off and another, much lower priced, road scheme could help to restore the link with the rest of the community."
A Highways Agency spokesperson said: "There have been some objections to the proposals and we are currently in negotiations with the objectors.
"We are making progress but this is a statutory process. If the objections are not withdrawn, it could mean the matter will go to a public inquiry, with an inspector preparing a report to go to the Secretary of State.
"If the objections are withdrawn, the road should be on course, although there is no start date decided as yet."