Is northern bypass 'dead in the water' after second MP joins fight against new road?
PUBLISHED: 14:55 22 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:04 22 August 2019
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Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey has added her voice to the growing calls for councils to abandon plans for a new bypass to the north of Ipswich.
In a letter to Woodbridge Town Council Dr Coffey - who is also an environment minister - says that there is no justification for the bypass and urges the county council to support the Suffolk Chamber's campaign to improve the A14.
And she warns the only justification for it would be if Ipswich was almost doubled in size.
She says: "The proposal from the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders Group (SPSLG) for the northern bypass is not acceptable and does not stack up.
"The cost of the project is estimated to be £500-560m. Given recent experiences, I think increasing that by at least 50% is more realistic.
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"While the government has recently awarded substantial capital investment to support housing growth, I cannot see £500m being made available unless approximately 50,000 houses were being built." In the 2011 census Ipswich had 57,000 households.
Dr Coffey joins Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter in opposing any new road - and comes in the same week that Kesgrave Town Council said it could not support the bypass.
Dr Poulter said: "The northern bypass is dead in the water. It is time for the councils to accept that and end the uncertainty and misery they have put residents through by pressing ahead with this scheme."
However Ipswich Labour MP Sandy Martin vowed to keep on pressing for the road. He said: "I have written to (Transport Secretary) Grant Shapps and the Roads Minister Baroness Vere to ask for a meeting so I can outline the importance of this road to the town and Suffolk as a whole."
This move was backed by Ipswich Conservative candidate Tom Hunt, who said: "I am glad the MP is finally asking for a meeting with ministers - although he should have been talking to them about this earlier!"
No one from the councils was prepared to discuss Dr Coffey's concerns - a spokesman would only repeat that there is an ongoing public consultation continuing until September 13 and people could use that to make their comments on the proposal for a Northern Route across Ipswich.