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New road proposals could provoke clash

PUBLISHED: 21:53 03 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:58 03 March 2010

CONTROVERSIAL proposals for new roads around Ipswich docks could provoke a clash between County Hall and Civic Centre.

Ipswich Council wants to build a new bridge across the Wet Dock lock gates and then build a new road on the west bank of the port.

CONTROVERSIAL proposals for new roads around Ipswich docks could provoke a clash between County Hall and Civic Centre.

Ipswich Council wants to build a new bridge across the Wet Dock lock gates and then build a new road on the west bank of the port.

But Suffolk County Council's officers reject this proposal - and members of the county's Sustainable Suffolk Theme Panel are set to discuss the issue later this week.

The report suggests that an east bank route may be more effective in getting traffic to the docks and easing pressure on the town centre.

However it acknowledges there could be environmental problems with the proposal.

The county's officers are clear in their rejection of a West Bank Route, proposed by the borough to link in with a possible bridge over the lock.

"The West Bank Link Road has some local benefits, but insufficient strategic transport benefits to justify its inclusion as the second priority scheme," they said.

That verdict was welcomed by the group campaigning to take traffic away from Wherstead Road.

The local residents' association fears that the construction of a new road behind homes on the river side will merely leave them sandwiched between two busy streets.

Bob Blastock, from the Wherstead Road Residents' Association was delighted to hear about the county's report.

"This is very good news for us, it gives us hope and something to fight for," he said.

"We've got a meeting arranged with other residents' groups and officials from the county council next week - this will be something for us to take to that meeting."

Wherstead Road residents have been campaigning for years for the east bank link to the docks - and during the recent by-election campaign received the backing of Conservative transport spokesman Eric Pickles.

Developers Samuel Beadie have offered to build the "Gainsborough Link" road on the east bank of the Orwell as part of a multi-million pound retail project to regenerate the area.

However the borough have said it is only fourth on their list of proposals to reject traffic problems around the docks - to be built only if the lock bridge, west bank link, and changes to the road network around Star Lane fail to ease congestion.

"At present the county council has no policy on this, there will be a lot of discussions with the borough over the next few months," said Joan Girling, county council executive member with responsibility for environment and transport.

And Philip Smart, from Ipswich Council, was also sure that any differences could be resolved through discussions.

"This report is very thorough and looks at the environmental and traffic benefits of all the schemes - it is a starting point for discussion and I am sure we will be able to talk through the issues.

"The proposals in our local plan are just at the first stage - they have to go through the council and a planning inquiry before they are formally adopted."


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