MP backs Macs on the Bridge and calls on highways to rescind lay-by plans

A group of Ipswich Town football fans stopping at Macs before the game

Ipswich Town fans have rallied around the food van's cause - Credit: Macs on the Bridge

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has opposed the closure of lay-bys on Wherstead Road in support of businesses, including a popular food van, that rely on their use. 

Macs on the Bridge has submitted its objection to Suffolk Highways' plans to introduce 'no waiting at any time' restrictions to the lay-bys on both sides of Wherstead Road. 

Owners described the plans as "a nightmare" and said that their business would become "unviable" if customers were no longer allowed to stop to get their order. 

In a letter addressed to county council leader Matthew Hicks, Mr Hunt wrote: "I write in support of Macs on the Bridge in their campaign against proposed changes to the lay-by restrictions which would cut off parking and make their business unviable.  

"Their food van currently sits by a busy road, meaning plenty of traffic and passing trade. However, the new plans for a pedestrian crossing would mean limited access to their spot, and far fewer customers. 

"I recognise the need to find solutions for pedestrians, protecting safety in crossing roads. However, we need to find a solution which protects safety of pedestrians without endangering a long-standing local business in the process." 

He also praised the "community and spirit" at the van and said: "I firmly believe that this small business plays a vital role in the local community, and it would be against my constituents' best interest to see it hindered by closure of the lay-bys."

Two girls holding the Macs sign that says 'save our business, say no to lay-by closure'

The family has been supported by customers and surrounding businesses - Credit: Macs on the Bridge

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Samantha McNally, who owns Macs with her husband, said Mr Hunt had visited the van for lunch and said he was "going to fully support us". 

She added that her letter of opposition and petition, signed by more than 1,000 people, had been acknowledged by the council but that she hadn't heard anything further. 

Last week, a spokesman for Suffolk Highways said of the consultation process: "Once we have received all comments/objections, we will work with Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council as the planning authority on reporting the findings and these will include the comments made by local businesses and those on their behalf so that everything can be taken into account." 

Mr Hunt's letter called on Suffolk County Council to "rescind the proposal to close the lay-bys and to promote and protect small businesses in Ipswich".