A12 bypass opponents warn £133m road could bring hundreds of new homes to greenfield sites
PUBLISHED: 16:18 07 March 2018 | UPDATED: 20:11 07 March 2018
Fears a Suffolk bypass could bring hundreds of homes have been heightened by a council report, which includes a focus on new housing around the road.
The four villages bypass, which would see the A12 take a new four mile route near Saxmundham, has been a long-held aspiration of communities in that area, who claim traffic, accidents and pollution is blighting their lives.
The project progressed in December when Suffolk County Council (SCC) submitted its bid for the £133m bypass, rebranded the Suffolk Energy Gateway (SEGway), to the Government.
Recently, however, the Bypass Action Group has formed to stop the road, which it claims is a waste of money, could damage the environment and bring housing.
Group chairman Graham Peck said housing was a big motivation for the bypass - and claims a key document supports that view.
The Issues and Options for the Suffolk Coastal Local Plan Review seeks views on where new growth should be delivered in the district.
One option is for 19% of the 1,645 homes that need to be built before 2036, on land in Suffolk Coastal not yet identified - to be centred around the “A12 corridor” – an area between Wickham Market and Yoxford, including the four bypass villages - Marlesford, Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Farnham.
Mr Peck said: “I believe one of the main reasons SCC are so keen to get this bypass is because it will unlock a large amount of otherwise unavailable greenfield sites on which to build houses.”
Campaigners supporting the bypass have questioned whether the feared level of new housing would materialise – and also whether it would be as concerning as the opponents claim.
Campaigner Debbi Tayler said: “If you talk to a lot of people living in these four villages who have young people living with them, they would like more affordable housing. What we need is to make sure it’s in the right place and with the right infrastructure.”
Suffolk Coastal District Council’s deputy leader Geoff Holdcroft said it was right for the Issues and Options to consider whether the bypass could bring extra homes but stressed it was a “consultative document” not a “blueprint for development”. He said “no decisions have been made” and “even if there was a recognition for this type of development” it would need to go through the planning process.