No county funding for new roads

MAJOR new road schemes around Ipswich Waterfront will not be funded by the county, it emerged today.Suffolk County Council is set to confirm next week that it is not prepared to invest in an east bank link road between the A14 and Cliff Quay or a new crossing linking the east and west banks of the docks.

MAJOR new road schemes around Ipswich Waterfront will not be funded by the county, it emerged today.

Suffolk County Council is set to confirm next week that it is not prepared to invest in an east bank link road between the A14 and Cliff Quay or a new crossing linking the east and west banks of the docks.

However if private sector developers want to invest in the projects they would be supported by the council - and officers may be able to help with some of the bureaucracy required.

The county's cabinet is set to discuss the road options next Tuesday and it is expected to reaffirm its support for the “Ipswich fit for the 21st century” strategy aimed at persuading motorists to leave their cars away from the town centre and use public transport, cycles, or walk.

Government rules for bidding for new projects mean that sponsoring local authorities, in Ipswich's case Suffolk County Council, have to pay at least 10 per cent of the cost of the scheme.

Transport spokesman Guy McGregor said: “These schemes are very expensive and it would take a long time to get them on the Department for Transport's list. If they were included it would be difficult for us to help finance them.

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“But if a developer wants to build them for the community as part of a larger scheme we would certainly be interested in talking to them.”

Developer Samuel Beadie Ltd had offered to build a new road if it was able to build a new retail park on the site of the former Volvo depot, but there could be problems with linking the road to the A14.

However Mr McGregor had visited the DTp with Ipswich transport spokesman Paul West and they felt the attitude towards building a new junction to the main road was softening.

The proposed east bank link provoked a storm of protest when it was first suggested in the early 1990s because of the fear of causing damage to the Piper's Vale nature reserve.

Gainsborough councillor Bill Quinton told the committee he would oppose any new road because of the damage it would cause to the environment and because it would risk separating the estate from Piper's Vale.

Borough council transport spokesman Paul West said he understood the county's position, but if the town got unitary status the new road proposals would be higher on the agenda.

He said: “However whatever happens with the unitary bid, the likelihood is that we would have to rely on private investment before any new road could be built and then it would rely on government backing.”

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