New link road shifts back up the agenda

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to build a link road from the A14 to Ipswich port could go back up the political agenda after a reshuffle of top jobs at Civic Centre.

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to build a link road from the A14 to Ipswich port could go back up the political agenda after a reshuffle of top jobs at Civic Centre.

Tory councillor Paul West has taken over responsibility for transport in the borough - and said the future of roads to and around the Waterfront is topping his list of priorities.

He was not going to commit the borough to supporting the construction of an east bank road, but felt this had to be looked at alongside other options.

Mr West has taken over the transport brief after it was split from environment in the reshuffle following this month's election results.

He said: “There are very serious issues to be faced by the town over the next few years and we are going to have to consider the road network.

“Whether this will include a new east bank link road has to be determined - but that is not something that can be immediately dismissed.”

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Although there are other possible solutions, Mr West said doing nothing about the traffic was not an option.

He said: “It is unrealistic to think that people buying expensive flats in the Waterfront area won't have their own cars - and won't want to use them.

“There is serious pressure on a number of areas around the Waterfront, like the Duke Street roundabout and Bishops Hill.

“I'm not sure that an east bank link would solve those problems, but it could be linked with other changes.”

Any proposal to build a new road would once again cause anger among environmental campaigners who fear it would damage Piper's Vale.

The promoters of the road, developers Beadie Group, claim it would not damage this area - but this is disputed by environmentalists.

And the proposed road is likely to continue to be opposed by Ipswich's Labour opposition.

Group spokesman Neil Macdonald said: “ We have always opposed the east bank link on environmental grounds, but it would also not achieve what is needed. It would bring more traffic on to the already busy Duke Street roundabout.”

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