East Suffolk: County pressed to make stronger demands for A12 four villages bypass
PUBLISHED: 15:01 09 August 2014
Council chiefs have been called upon to "raise their game" in negotiating a better transport solution for villagers in east Suffolk.
Politicians and campaigners behind plans for an A12 bypass around four traffic blighted villages agreed during crunch talks on Thursday night that Suffolk County Council (SCC) should make a greater economic case for the scheme.
Villagers in Little Glemham, Marlesford, Farnham and Stratford St Andrew, have been calling for the new road to be built for decades.
They claim the volume of traffic is unbearable for small village roads, dangerous for its residents and a pollution hazard, which will only worsen with the proposed construction of Sizewell C power station.
The county council has been negotiating with Sizewell developers EDF Energy to secure funding for the bypass as part of its transport plan, but is yet to receive a concrete offer.
Many of those attending the latest meeting of the Four Villages Bypass Group, which included MPs, Therese Coffey and Dan Poulter, Lord Marlesford, council officers and councillors, have spoken of the need for SCC to make stronger demands.
Lord Marlesford said: “We’ve got to challenge the county council to be more effective negotiators with EDF – it’s not really on for EDF to be deciding on the pattern of Suffolk’s transport plan,” he said.
County councillor Stephen Burroughes agreed the authority needed to “raise its game”.
He also suggested setting up a task force to investigate the economic case for the bypass. “We need to build a business case demonstrating the strategic importance of the A12 and take that to EDF and government,” he said.
Dr Poulter suggested the economic case could help gain government backing for further improvements to the A12, but also stressed the importance of getting the county council to push harder for a better deal from EDF.
“I think it was a very productive meeting and I’m increasingly hopeful that we will be able to deliver the four villages bypass for the benefit of the community. I’m also confident the county council will be successful in ensuring EDF contribute a much fairer share towards the infrastructure project,” he said.
Graham Newman, who is responsible for highways at the county council, said he would “redouble efforts” in creating an economic case, but warned that a two-villages bypass might be more likely.
Debbi Tayler, spokesman for the campaigners, said she was concerned by any option other than the full four village option.
EDF Energy said it was undertaking a robust transport assessment to inform its proposals for Sizewell C Project, which will be presented at stage two of its consultation.