Hundreds turn out to protest against an Ipswich northern bypass
PUBLISHED: 14:45 13 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:20 13 September 2019
An estimated 400 protesters have marched through Ipswich to show their opposition to any new northern bypass for the town.
They marched from the Cornhill to Suffolk County Council's Endeavour House headquarters in Russell Road to hand in a petition and formal submissions of opposition to the road proposal on the final day of public consultation into plans for a new Northern Route across Ipswich.
Residents of towns and villages to the north and east of Ipswich were joined by environmental campaigners on the march which was led by Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter along with Nick Green and Nick Deacon who set up the Stop the Northern Bypass campaign.
Mr Green was delighted by the response from residents to the north of the town: "There is real concern and anger about the idea of concreting over large areas to the north of Ipswich.
"We are showing how strong that opposition is - we have a petition that has been signed by more than 4,500 people against these plans."
For Dr Poulter, it was the first protest march he had ever been on: "This is an issue I feel very strongly about - there is no justification for this road. It will not ease congestion in Ipswich. It is simply being promoted to allow more houses to be built.
"I am really pleased by the response - and I have had people coming up to me as we came down here who weren't on the march and live in Ipswich, and say they don't want the road either. I hope the councils listen to us."
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The consultation period for the options for a new Northern Route is coming to an end. It is promoted by the Suffolk public leaders group comprising of the county's local authority leaders and PCC Tim Passmore. The group is currently chaired by Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks.
When the protesters reached Endeavour House they chanted: "Where's Matthew Hicks?" But he was not available so the petition was collected by county monitoring officer Tim Ryder.
A spokesman for the leaders' group said: "Suffolk County Council fully supports peaceful protest or demonstration. We are happy to receive the campaign petition on behalf of all the Ipswich Northern Route project partners."
The consultation for the Ipswich Northern Route closes at midnight on September 13, comments can be made on its dedicated website.
While hundreds of people marched to protest against plans for a northern bypass for the town, there were some voices in the town centre in support of the proposal.
David Rowe of Colchester Road in Ipswich said it was badly needed because traffic near his home was becoming intolerable.
He said: "Back in the 1960s they said Ipswich would have a bypass to solve the traffic problems, but they never finished it! The northern side of the by-pass was never finished.
"Now Colchester Road and Valley Road is just completely clogged with traffic between 9am and 10.30am and from 3pm to 6pm every day. There has to be a new road. This can't go on."
Plans for a new road are backed by Ipswich borough council, the town's MP Sandy Martin and Conservative candidate Tom Hunt. The Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has backed the middle route of those in the consultation document.