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North Ipswich villages must "take their share" of infrastructure improvements amid northern bypass debate, says councillor.

PUBLISHED: 07:30 28 August 2019

Potential routes for the new Nothern Route around Ipswich. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Potential routes for the new Nothern Route around Ipswich. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

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Villages to the north of Ipswich must take their share of the infrastructure improvements needed in the county, according to a senior councillor as part of efforts to rally behind a northern route.

Ipswich Conservative group leader Ian Fisher said villages to the north of Ipswich needed to take their share of the infrastructure improvements needed around Ipswich. Picture: IPSWICH COUNCILIpswich Conservative group leader Ian Fisher said villages to the north of Ipswich needed to take their share of the infrastructure improvements needed around Ipswich. Picture: IPSWICH COUNCIL

Ipswich Borough Council's executive will next week agree to formally respond to the northern route consultation in favour of the inner route.

Ahead of the meeting, the council's leader of the opposition Conservative group, Ian Fisher, said: "We are massively in favour of it, and we are working very much with Orwell Ahead [campaign group] to ensure that Ipswich people have their say and it's not just people north of Ipswich.

"The big issue is air quality - there are five air quality management areas in Ipswich and there are none in the villages north of Ipswich.

"Our environment in Ipswich is already spoilt and they [the villages] rely on our infrastructure, so it's about time the villages surrounding Ipswich take their share of all the extra infrastructure in and around the town because we are full in Ipswich."

David Ellesmere, Labour leader at Ipswich Borough Council, which is expected to formally back the inner route as part of the northern bypass consultation. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDavid Ellesmere, Labour leader at Ipswich Borough Council, which is expected to formally back the inner route as part of the northern bypass consultation. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mr Fisher said his group had submitted a motion calling for the council to reaffirm its backing of a bypass, just days before the executive papers were published.

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The council's executive will next week expect to agree to formally responding in favour of the inner route, as it would allow for new growth, provide a viable alternative to the A14, and improve the economy.

Labour leader of the council David Ellesmere said: "The borough council's support for a northern bypass is long standing and we thought it was important as part of the consultation we made representation to make that clear, and we have that view for a number of reasons.

"One is the huge economic damage whenever there is a closure on the Orwell Bridge, or anywhere along the southern bypass which ferries traffic through the town, and those are becoming more common.

"We have to improve the resilience of the A14 not only for Ipswich but also the Port of Felixstowe.

"It will enable more development to happen and we believe the most sustainable place is in and around Ipswich."

It comes just a week after more campaigners were rallying against a northern route, including Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, and several parish and town councils.

Opponents to the plan say that it will be harmful to the environment, will not bring the traffic-easing benefits people think and fear it will leave the taxpayer with a multi-million pound bill for a project that will not happen.

The consultation runs until September 13, when responses will be collated and analysed before any next steps.

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