Ipswich: Excessive cost, strong opposition and limited benefits mean the Northern by-pass is a non-starter

County councillor Graham Newman. County councillor Graham Newman.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
6:59 AM

Officials and politicians have rejected the possibility of building a northern by-pass for Ipswich in the foreseeable future.

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Proposals for a road from the A14 junction with Bury Road to the A12 Martlesham roundabout were actively considered during the mid-1990s, but were abandoned after a storm of protest.

Some have suggested that such a road is now needed to ease pressure on Ipswich town centre – but there are three reasons it seems unlikely:

1) The cost of the road. In the mid-1990s a seven to 10-mile road across the north of the town was costed at about £30million. Now that figure has gone up to at least £100m – and could be more.

2) Widespread opposition. When last proposed an alliance of villages including Bealings, Playford, Tuddenham, Rushmere and Westerfield opposed the road which would have gone through the attractive Fynn Valley. That opposition is likely to be as strong as ever.

3) A cost-benefit analysis at present is likely to show that the road would only represent good value at times when the Orwell Bridge is closed. That may change in the years ahead – but there would need to be conclusive data to persuade the Department for Transport to finance such a scheme.

Graham Newman from Suffolk County Council said: “I can’t see there being any progress with the northern by-pass during my time as transport cabinet member.

“If you look at the figures for a new road, the A11 is costing £105m for a seven-mile stretch, the majority of which is beside an existing road.

“Building a new road from scratch is much more expensive, so it would difficult to find the money.”

He thought the opposition from the 1990s – which was led by former Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer when the villages were in that constituency – would be repeated. “In fact, the opposition would be likely to be much greater,” he added.

“In the very long term you should never say never, but I cannot see this road being built in timescale we are considering.”

However current Ipswich MP Ben Gummer felt a new road should be built to link the proposed northern fringe development to the A14 to ease pressure on the town’s roads.

“That is not in the proposals but I am urging the borough to think very hard about this – otherwise that part of Ipswich will become very congested,” he said.

27 comments

  • I totally agree Drew. It's the residents and businesses of Ipswich who have to endure the fallout. It now seems our only hope of relief is for continuing problems with the bridge so some of the hauliers and shipping lines move away. This is a very short-sighted decision, but given the record of people like Newman I am not surprised, his anti-Ipswich agenda is obvious.

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    Esco Fiasco

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • It comes as not surprise that Newman and his Tory cronies in charge of SCC won't do anything to aid the Labour voting residents of Ipswich. They are systematically destroying Ipswich by their actions. I wonder how the residents of Bealings, Felixstowe et al would feel if all the traffic was channelled through their villagestown every time the bridge closed. They would be up in arms. It's a pity Ipswich doesn't have a decent MP working for it. The two who do cover the area are useless and do everything to support the SCC.

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    Driven Roundabend

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Politicians are so out of touch. £100m for a northern bypass is a drop in the ocean. The Orwell Bridge cost about £25m (around £90m in todays prices). In 1987 the port handled 1 million TEU, its now double that.The Copdock Interchange modifications cost approx £10m. When the Orwell Bridge closes it must cost the economy severely. If we can assume a cost of £100m and for which it should be good for 10 years without major repairs... that is £10m a year - in addition to improvements when the bridge is shut it would improve the economy, in particular it would be ideal for the IP-City (if anyone remembers it) project linking Cambridge to Ipswich (Adastral Park). Of course, this all stinks of HS2... it would have cost no more than £50m if high speed rail was introduced 40-50 years ago... and the same with the Northern Bypass problems... the longer it takes to be built... the more costs will rocket. Do we have to wait 15-20 years for this to be built when everyone has had enough and cost £350m? I think the aim is to destroy Ipswich so investment goes elsewhere! As for destroying the countryside, the same was said when the railway lines were built, except, the building of the transport links actually allowed people to experience and appreciate the countryside. Would be nice to drive by an scenic route...

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • Of course SCC are not interested in anything to do with Ipswich. They won't upset the whinging NIMBY villagers. I wrote to my SCC councillor about traffic in Ipswich, she never bothered to reply.

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    m01

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • That is very welcome news for the tax paying residents of the of the "northern" villages, as well as those of us who enjoy the great Suffolk scenery and who benefit from the varied uses of this rural part of the county. No northern by-pass would be needed if the gas guzzling drivers who moan about traffic in Ipswich realised they are the causes of traffic themselves. All those massive 4x4 vehicles to take the darlings 500yds to school which is well within walking distance and those snobs who refuse to jump on a bus; no excuses for not getting a bus as there are extensive services from all surrounding villages and towns. The Orwell bridge would flow more smoothly if more Felixstowe container freight was put on the rail network and that is likely to happen soon with the completion of the northern (rail) chord. Great to hear that no monstrosity of a motorway will be bulldozing its way along the beautiful Fynn Valley any time in the future. A good news day for a rare change!

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    Steve Blake

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • So they haven't actually completed a cost benefit analysis yet. Sounds like they aren't sure it would support their assertion that it wouldn't provide value for money. Gummer has said the only other option is to build a second bridge, but that wouldn't be a solution when we get high winds. In my lifetime SCC have always been a council with no vision and have never fought for resources from government to meet the needs of residents. Is it any surprise they have arrived at yet another negative conclusion?

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    amsterdam81

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • I used to live near Thelwall Viaduct in Cheshire. They built another bridge alongside, has anyone considered that? Not that it helps the probable extra traffic due to the Northern Fringe, but surely a massive help for Felixstowe port traffic, surely?

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    Jan

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • And I hope these NIMBY villagers realise that their villages will be used as rat runs more and more as the traffic has nowhere else to go, especially when the Northern Fringe development gets under way.

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    Esco Fiasco

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • So Mr Newman, that's it is it ? No Northern By Pass and No PLAN B ??

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    freedomf

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • No point in going ahead with the Northern Fringe development then, as there will be nowhere for the traffic to go. The Northern Fringe development isn't wanted, but a bypass is.

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    Lakota S

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • Totally agree m01. And yet further expansions are still being approved at Felixstowe. As the bypass is now, apparently, a non-starter I hope Felixstowe starts losing shipping lines to Gateway. Newman is directly responsible for the farcical traffic problems Ipswich now has. He is unfit for purpose.

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    Esco Fiasco

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • The United Kingdoms biggest container port, 6th biggest in Europe and 34th biggest on the planet yet it is served by an old bridge which is almost up to capacity even in optimum conditions. If Norwich can get lottery funding for their bypass system I am sure it is not beyond the wit of man to request a mix of government funding, lottery contributions and a donation from Felixstowe port (who incidentally need to look over their shoulders at The London Gateway) in order to build a northern bypass. A few whingers in Bealings should not be able to halt this in a democracy.

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    Drew Peacock

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • Esco... It's more often closed or slow moving causing problems due to accidents. Or a tunnel?

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    Jan

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • @Steve Blake.We all pay tax but we all live in the 21st century as opposed to yourself who seems to be in the 17th with your horse + cart.When was the last time you went on a bus and paid nearly £5.00?Ridiculouse man!

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    JC

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Yet another failure of the local politicians

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    jimmybog

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • Star Watch, I live in Felixstowe and work in Whitehouse so am caught everytime there is a problem, you can't generalise and say that everyone in Felixstowe doesn't go near the A14. I know lots of people who live in Felixstowe that either work in Ipswich, stowmarket and even a few in Bury st Edmunds. No matter which way it goes someone is going to complain. That's just the way it is.

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    Lizzy

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • Typical NIMBY attitude from Steve Blake there. Don't improve the road infrastructure, where the vast majority of containerised traffic goes, but put more onto the rail line that goes through Ipswich. Also, if the 4x4 school journeys are only 500yds as you say then how does that contribute to the town centre problems? You also mention the, and I quote "tax paying residents of the northern villages". Do you think people in Ipswich do not pay tax?

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    Esco Fiasco

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • Yet another failure of the local politicians

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    jimmybog

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • Why does a person representing Felixstowe have such a say in the lives of the people living in Ipswich. He lives in Felixstowe and does not have to endure the problems. I guess he is like most people in Felixstowe in that he does not go any further than Woodbridge so never has the daily hassle of the A14. I know the Northern By Pass will not be built in my lifetime but, it not being built, will impinge on my children and grand children. If people like Mr Newman are not fighting for a Northern By Pass, then there is no hope. Oh, I forgot SCC want to look after their darlings of Bealings, Playford, Tuddenham, Rushmere and Westerfield not forgetting Bury St Edmunds of course.

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    Star Watch

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • SCC Not fit for purpose Newman Not fit for purpose Lets have a vote on Ipswich getting Unitary Status. Sorry, for a moment there I thought we were a democracy.

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    m01

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • Limited benefit? Really??? Unlike 3000 traffics lights. As per usual let's look after a few villagers and sod the thousands of people of live and work in and around Ipswich. All this cost talk is nonsense - they soon found the 19 million they needed for Bury's relief road! Let me think 21 million for travel (stall) Ipswich, if the port contributed 20 million seeing as how it would save them major delays and cure some serious logistics problems, then say around a 10 million contribution from the developer of the Northern fringe... there's 50 million right there. SCC don't want to fight for it because they want to keep their villagers happy and they couldn't get a monkeys about Ipswich. Unitary all the way please! The people of Ipswich demand it!!!!!!

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    Scott Brock

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • What these arrogant villagers do not understand their remoteness (in regards to living in a built up urban area) kills the planets with their cars and the planetcountry is being destroyed by their electricity and utility demands (hell no, no wind turbines... but you want the countryside to survive and still use electricity wastefully...) **** But on a more serious note, while you think its a victory resisting the Northern Bypass... you are making your villages ripe for development. Think less wind turbine and more waste incinerator, a ski slope (you see where I am going with this?) and without a doubt at some stage... HOUSING! **** This is how life works... villages were allowed to flood to protect the more built up areas... In the end you will lose to the numbers game and perhaps a new Ipswich Airport will be created to increase the UK's air capacity. Suffolk doesn't have an airport.... yet

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Reading this, and some of the comments, I could not help but be reminded of a section of the a140 close to Norwich, where residents have displayed posters along the road saying 'bypass us now'. One cannot wonder if in 10 or 15 years time, residents of these villages will be demanding the same!

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    Sentinel Red

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • So Mr Newman, that's it then ? No Northern By Pass, and no PLAN B ??

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    freedomf

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • Absolutely blinkered and self-centred attitude there from Steve Blake. Of course it would be wonderful to keep the quiet country lanes and gorgeous countryside, but sadly the world today rushes around and demands better infrastructure. This can often be provided without scarring what is there badly with proper design and landscaping. The rail chord he refers to will help trains reach Felixstowe better, but the single track railway is at capacity and cannot take more until double tracked. The 500 yard school runs are a pain, but they don't use the Orwell Bridge so not relevant. Felixstowe Docks are getting bigger and have the threat of Gateway so will push for more and better access. People (i.e. taxpayers!) work miles from where they live now so need good roads - and buses but buses can't suit everybody. So inevitably traffic will grow and inevitably solutions have to be found - despite rural objections. Before moving back to Suffolk I lived in a Berkshire village, with the M3 and M4 not far away. Everytime one of them blocked, the village became a bigger and bigger rat run. The frequency of such "attacks" got worse and worse and eventually totally blighted the village...all for want of a proper alternative route. This is what you'll eventually get Mr Blake, far worse than a landscaped - and essential - by pass!

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    Disbeliever

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • Sorry, really not good enough Mr Newman. Ipswich, Felixstowe, the region as a whole needs a plan B and now! The Orwell Bridge is far too vulnerable now to let our future rest on that alone.Who do we have to turn to to get this taken seriously ? Is it you Mr Gummer, or you Mr Ellesmere ? And don't suggest that Ipswich can cope with the occasional closure of the bridge, as it can't now at peak times, and given the planned Northern fringe expansion, continuing growth at Felixstowe Port and, hopefully, the economic upturn, it will only get worse and worse.

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    mmm

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • Yes Jan, we could have two bridges closed due to high winds instead of one!

    Report this comment

    Esco Fiasco

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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