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Hundreds turn out to show opposition to Ipswich northern bypass

PUBLISHED: 12:31 08 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:46 08 August 2019

About 300 people turned up for a meeting at Witnesham Village Hall to discuss the proposed Ipswich Northern Route. Picture: Office of DR DAN POULTER

About 300 people turned up for a meeting at Witnesham Village Hall to discuss the proposed Ipswich Northern Route. Picture: Office of DR DAN POULTER

Archant

More than 300 concerned residents from villages to the north of Ipswich flocked to a meeting to oppose plans for a new northern bypass to the town.

Witnesham Parish Council chair Chris Rush, district councillor Tony Fryatt and Dr Dan Poulter before the meeting at Witnesham Village Hall. Picture: Office of DR DAN POULTERWitnesham Parish Council chair Chris Rush, district councillor Tony Fryatt and Dr Dan Poulter before the meeting at Witnesham Village Hall. Picture: Office of DR DAN POULTER

So many people turned up to the meeting in Witnesham village hall that there was not enough room for them - some had to hear the discussion relayed to them in the car park.

The meeting was called by Witnesham and Swilland parish council - the villages fear that whichever of the three potential corridors for the new Northern Route is chosen, those villages will be seriously affected by it.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter also spoke at the meeting to repeat his backing to the campaign to see plans for any new route across the top of the town dropped.

Although the meeting was planned to give people from the two villages in the parish the chance to have a say on the proposal, there were also residents of other nearby communities including Clopton and Tuddenham at the village hall.

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Dr Poulter said: "From the sheer number of residents attending this evening's meeting, the strength of feeling and opposition to the Ipswich Northern Route proposals was abundantly clear.

"The village of Witnesham is the only village which would be hit by any one of the three proposed routes and residents were out in force to make their voices heard, already claiming that their properties are being blighted by the proposals.

"Comments from the floor ranged from describing the proposals as a 'smokescreen to cover the county council's previous project failures' and 'nothing short of a vanity project'."

Chris Rush - chairman of Swilland and Witnesham Parish Council, who organised the public meeting - said that he was extremely pleased, yet not surprised given the strength of feeling locally.

Residents were concerned about the impact of any of the proposed routes on their homes, businesses, local farms and on the general rural character of the area.

Local resident Sue Wooldridge was at the meeting. She said: "Our property is right next to the proposed inner route, it does not (so far as we can tell) go through our property, but is is effectively going to be our new unwanted neighbour (if it proceeds)."

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