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Calls for Ipswich traffic problems summit after northern bypass rejection

PUBLISHED: 19:00 31 January 2020

Ipswich gridlocked by an A14 closure. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ipswich gridlocked by an A14 closure. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A Suffolk MP who objected to the Ipswich northern bypass has called for a summit of councils to thrash out a solution to Ipswich’s traffic problems they can “all sign up to”.

Dr Dan Poulter has been vocal from the start about the drawbacks of the northern bypass scheme. Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDDr Dan Poulter has been vocal from the start about the drawbacks of the northern bypass scheme. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter on Thursday welcomed the news that Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks would recommend to his cabinet that all further work on a northern route cease.

READ MORE: Councils withdraw support for Ipswich northern bypass

Dr Poulter referenced the divisions over the scheme and said instead a solution was needed that all the county's authorities MPs and business leaders could unite behind, and would also strengthen the bid for funding.

He said: "In Ipswich there is a desire to de-congest the town, and the most important thing is if we want to get progress achieved - like improvements to wind sheltering on the Orwell Bridge - all MPs have got to be pulling in the same direction.

"I think the next step is to get everybody together and agree common principles of how we deliver traffic flow on the Orwell Bridge, and how we can supporting the de-congesting of Ipswich to improve traffic flow through the town, to improve the lives of Ipswich residents.

Potential routes for the new Northern Route around Ipswich. The inner route was viewed as the best value option Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCILPotential routes for the new Northern Route around Ipswich. The inner route was viewed as the best value option Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

"Because of the historic nature of Ipswich there are some entrenched challenges, but what I would like to see as the next step is bringing everyone together to come up with solutions we can all sign up to and help lobby government for funding."

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Dr Poulter and Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey were both vehemently against a bypass, but Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has remained in favour of it.

Babergh, Mid Suffolk and East Suffolk councils all announced they could not support a northern route just hours after the consultation results were published on Tuesday, although Ipswich Borough Council continued to back the plan citing the strong business case it presented.

Around 70% of consultation respondents opposed the scheme.

Despite the bypass having lost key support, Mr Hunt said he would not give up on the idea altogether, but admitted short term solutions would now be the priority.

READ MORE: Orwell Bridge 40mph zone to be in place by next winter

At Ipswich Borough Council's scrutiny committee on Thursday night where Highways England chiefs were quizzed on their plans to reduce wind closures on the Orwell Bridge, Suffolk County Council did offer a commitment to review key junctions.

Graeme Mateer, head of transport delivery with SCC, said: "It's very hard to design junctions that would make a big difference that would effectively not be a dual carriageway through the town.

"It's something we can look at but it needs to be something that has an improvement in real terms."

It is understood that the county council will begin looking at options ahead of the cabinet meeting on February 25, where the northern bypass is likely to be formally rejected altogether.


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