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Giving up on Ipswich northern bypass ‘simply not an option’ says opposition group

PUBLISHED: 16:11 18 February 2020

Gridlocked traffic in Ipswich means a northern route cannot be cast aside, says Suffolk County Council's Labour group. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Gridlocked traffic in Ipswich means a northern route cannot be cast aside, says Suffolk County Council's Labour group. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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“Tinkering around the edges” of Ipswich’s traffic problems is not enough, according to opposition groups at Suffolk County Council.

Labour councillor Sarah Adams said 'tinkering around the edges' was not enough. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNLabour councillor Sarah Adams said 'tinkering around the edges' was not enough. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The authority's Conservative administration looks set to pursue work with a task force that will look at where improvements can be made to Ipswich junctions and how to encourage a shift in transport attitudes towards more buses, cycling and walking.

READ MORE: County council leader Matthew Hicks will not pursue bypass work

More details on the task force are set to be announced after the county council cabinet formally agrees to shelve any further work on a northern bypass at its meeting on Tuesday next week.

But the opposition Labour group has said the bypass should not be abandoned.

Group leader Sarah Adams said: "For me, giving up on the Ipswich northern bypass is simply not an option - tinkering around the edges of Ipswich's traffic problems is just not going to cut it.

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

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"As a bare minimum, the Tories at Suffolk should: provide support and funding to establish new Park and Rides; prioritise an Ipswich bid to the £20m electric buses scheme; develop dedicated cycle routes across the county; and increase the frequency and improve the running times of bus services, by using Suffolk's share of the £5bn funding pot to reverse brutal cuts to subsidies."

Penny Otton, leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group, said that it was exactly what it had called for, but demanded the task group was fully resourced and funded.

Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, deputy group leader, added: "We were the only political group to stand against the northern route as a solution to Ipswich traffic problems.

Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw said the task group needed proper funding and resources. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNElfrede Brambley-Crawshaw said the task group needed proper funding and resources. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"It's good news that the administration is creating a task group to explore different options, but it is essential this group has the expertise and officer time to understand how the kind of modal shift we need can be supported.

"The success of this exercise will depend on whether the administration genuinely understands the extent of the challenge ahead. I would suggest that the task group works closely with the climate emergency policy development panel [PDP] to draw on expertise there."

The PDP was formed last year after the council declared a climate emergency, with the cross-party group tasked with coming up with measures to help the council become carbon neutral by 2030.

In its report prepared for next week, the cabinet said: "The cabinet is asked to continue to support ongoing work to secure improvements to the A14, its junctions and the Orwell Bridge by Highways England; to identify improvements to support economic growth in Suffolk, and to bid for funding; to set up a task force to build on existing initiatives to optimise existing road capacity and promote modal shift in Ipswich and the wider area to reduce congestion and support growth."


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