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Uncertainty over Upper Orwell Crossing future causing anxiety for Ipswich people, say campaign groups

PUBLISHED: 16:48 01 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:48 01 September 2018

An aerial view of the Upper Orwell Crossings Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

An aerial view of the Upper Orwell Crossings Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

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Campaign groups against plans for the Upper Orwell Crossings in Ipswich have said that uncertainty over its future has caused anxiety for those who could be the most impacted.

Members of the Rivers Action Group have raised concerns over the Upper Orwell CRossings plan and the impact it could have on traffic and the environment Picture: GREGG BROWNMembers of the Rivers Action Group have raised concerns over the Upper Orwell CRossings plan and the impact it could have on traffic and the environment Picture: GREGG BROWN

Dozens of concerned people turned up to a public meeting at Suffolk Food Hall last night, where the Rivers Action Group from the Cliff Lane side and the Wherstead Road Action Group from the west side of the Orwell outlined their fears.

Suffolk County Council announced on July 31 that the £97million project had been put on hold as the costs were thought to have increased significantly.

An independent review is being carried out, with the outcome of that study set to be published this month, after a which a decision on whether to press on with the scheme can be taken.

Both campaign groups said the uncertainty surrounding the future of it meant they needed to continue their work until it had been confirmed.

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin said he was concerned the Upper Orwell Crossings could generate more congestion in areas of town such as Cliff Lane and Wherstead Road Picture: SEANA HUGHESIpswich MP Sandy Martin said he was concerned the Upper Orwell Crossings could generate more congestion in areas of town such as Cliff Lane and Wherstead Road Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Wherstead Road Action Group chairman Nicky Wilson, said: “There is so much going on I can’t walk down the street without someone asking me a question about what is going on with the bridges.

“Still people are not totally and fully aware of what’s going to happen, and if it’s going to happen at all, and they’re very worried about things as well.”

Among some of the key concerns raised by those living nearby were the impact on air quality and wildlife, the potential to cause residential roads into rat-runs, and confusion over 3,000 letters sent out to homeowners.

The scheme planned to create three bridges across the river at a cost of £97m, three quarters of which were to come from central government with the rest from the county council and other local sources.

A main link from Wherstead Road to Cliff Quay was the key proposal, with a smaller bridge across the New Cut from near the Steamboat Tavern to the island site, and a new pedestrian and cycle bridge across the Wet Dock lock gates.

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin was also present at the meeting in a bid to understand people’s fears.

“I am really here to listen to their concerns, to hear what they’ve got to say to make sure they can ask me questions if they want to do so, but primarily so I can understand what their viewpoint is,” he said.

Mr Martin also reiterated his desire for a northern bypass, which he said was crucial to solving Ipswich’s congestion.

He added: “I want us to have a good, vibrant, viable economy in Ipswich and I don’t think we are going to be able to maximise the potential if we have too much traffic in the town centre and if we haven’t still got the best container port in the country just down the river. I want both of those things to happen, and that’s why we need a Northern Bypass.”

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said the review was still ongoing.


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