Poulter says there is "no chance" of him supporting northern bypass
PUBLISHED: 15:29 27 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:23 28 February 2019
The two MPs representing Ipswich have differing views on the northern by-pass, with Central Suffolk and North Ipswich's Dr Dan Poulter saying the road has no chance of getting his support . . . or government funding.
Dr Poulter, who also represents the villages to the north of Ipswich was scathing about the plans – which have been put forward 20 years after an earlier proposal for a new road across the top or the town was abandoned in the face of local opposition.
And he warned that a new road could be the prelude to further development in the Suffolk countryside.
He said: “I remain unclear about the reasons for this concerted attempt to build a road that will cost in the region of £1 billion across the beautiful countryside to the north of Ipswich, although given last week’s Respublica report, it would seem that this is part of a thinly veiled attempt by Suffolk County Council to build 15,000 houses in the Fynn Valley.
“According to the county council’s own research, a new road would do nothing to decongest or improve traffic flow in Ipswich and, disappointingly, there has been a complete failure to develop more cost effective solutions to improving traffic flow in the town on the rare occasions that the Orwell Bridge is closed.
“Quite frankly, due to the lack of evidence, and a lack of wider community support, a £1 billion road building project has no chance of attracting either my support or Government funding at this point in time.
“My priority, and that of the majority of the Suffolk MPs will be to continue to prioritise improvements to the A12, in particular between Ipswich and Lowestoft, and I would urge the County Council to recognise that to progress a project of this scale and cost, that simply won’t be delivered, is a waste of resources and tax-payers money, and more should be done to focus on deliverable and viable ways of reducing road traffic congestion in Ipswich.”
Ipswich Labour MP Sandy Martin said he was pleased to see that the county council had put forward a timetable to carry out the preparations for the road – even though some people would be disappointed by the lengthy timescale.
He said: “If they are taking extra time they might get the bid right so it stands a greater chance of getting government support.
“I also feel there will be several people, like me, who feel that the council should also have included a route nearer to the town than even the “inner” line that has been suggested.
“But it is important to keep up the momentum in the planning for this road so people see it as something that is likely to be built to improve life in the town in future years.”
The leader of the Labour group at the county council, Sarah Adams, said: “It is welcome that there has finally been some movement on the Northern Bypass project and it is positive that Suffolk’s council leaders have unanimously supported this plan.
“However, I am sure many residents and businesses will be as frustrated as I am that it has taken so long simply to get to this stage.
“Despite repeated promises, the Strategic Outline Business Case has still not been produced and it now looks like its publication – and the Bypass – has been delayed by almost a year.
“If a public consultation was so critical to informing the business case, then why was this not completed last year and why is this the first time we have heard about it?
“Let’s hope that Suffolk County Council can shed its lethargy, stick to this timetable and deliver on this priority infrastructure project for Ipswich and Suffolk.”
However the Greens at the county council vowed to fight the proposals. Robert Lindsay said: “The Conservatives are still failing to recognise that building new roads encourages more polluting vehicles onto the roads and discourages people from using public transport, cycling or walking.
“It leads to more carbon emissions when we have already been told we need to cut carbon emissions in half within 12 years.
“We as a county need to be investing in carbon reduction measures – more bike paths, footways and more frequent buses rather than more polluting roads.
“Suffolk Conservatives have a dire record of wasting money on vainglorious attempts to build new roads. The failed attempt to build a Sudbury bypass wasted up to £1 million, the failed Orwell crossing project wasted £8.3million and the Bury relief road went £5m over budget.
“In all that is nearly £20 per head of population in Suffolk wasted on the Conservatives’ ideological drive to cover the county in new roads.”