What changes could the Ipswich traffic taskforce make – and who decides?
PUBLISHED: 19:00 22 February 2020 | UPDATED: 19:36 23 February 2020
Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere is demanding that the borough is given a place on the taskforce being created by Suffolk County Council to look at new ways of tackling the town’s traffic problems.
The taskforce is due to be discussed at this week's meeting of the county's cabinet - and is being set up in the wake of the decision to drop plans to build a new northern route across the north of the town to ease traffic problems.
But the make-up and terms of reference of the taskforce have still to be agreed - and Mr Ellesmere has written to his opposite number at the county, Matthew Hicks, to insist that his authority has a say on what happens.
He said: "The fact is that it is the highways authority that is responsible for ensuring that traffic continues to move freely around the town and the county council is the highways authority - so they have to take the lead but the borough must have an input into this.
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"It remains our position that the best solution would be the construction of the inner route of the northern bypass - but if that is not going to happen in the immediate future then we have to have our say on what can be done to ease the traffic."
The county council insists that no further details of the taskforce can be decided until after Tuesday's meeting when members of the Conservative-run authorities cabinet have discussed the issue.
However it is understood that whatever form the taskforce takes, it is likely to include members of other councils, including the borough, as it draws up a list of proposed changes to try to ease any traffic problems that might emerge in the town.
These are likely to include making life easier for buses, cycles and pedestrians as well as looking at the possibility of changing some road layouts - although that could be expensive and would be likely to require the backing of central government for any major schemes.
As well as setting up the taskforce to look at traffic problems in the town itself, the cabinet is also expected to try to keep up the pressure on the government and Highways England to improve the A14 through Suffolk and to implement proposed changes to the Orwell Bridge to reduced the congestion caused by its closures.