Suffolk County Council Labour group bids to block cabinet changes to Ipswich Park and Ride

Ipswich Park and Ride. Martlesham.

Ipswich Park and Ride. Martlesham. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Opposition leaders are aiming to put proposed changes to Ipswich’s Park and Ride on hold – after claiming cabinet plans for the new service are “vague in the extreme”.

Suffolk County Council Labour group leader Sandy Martin

Suffolk County Council Labour group leader Sandy Martin - Credit: Archant

Suffolk County Council’s Labour group have ‘called in’ the decision to press ahead with the changes, after they were approved at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Councillors opposing a decision can ‘call it in’, submitting a request to the council outlining their objections. The decision is then frozen until the overview and scrutiny committee – or full council – considers it further.

Highlighting concerns about a “lack of any firm plans”, the group wants to ensure highway improvements are made before the final decision is taken to terminate the current service in January 2017.

The new service, proposed by cabinet member for highways James Finch at Tuesday’s meeting, aims to divert commercially-run buses operated by Ipswich Buses and First Buses to include the Park and Ride sites in their regular routes. These buses would arrive every six minutes instead of 12 on the Copdock route, and every 15 minutes instead of 20 on the Martlesham route. And although they support cost effective services for the Park and Ride, opposition councillors have said more needs to be done to prepare Ipswich for the new service.

Suffolk County Council's Sandra Gage

Suffolk County Council's Sandra Gage - Credit: Archant

Sandra Gage, opposition spokeswoman for roads, transport and planning, said: “The cabinet has made this decision, and will serve notice on the current service later this month, without due consideration of all the options and without taking account of the viewpoint of Ipswich Borough Council, the Local Enterprise Partnership (Ipswich Vision), or even the local MP. More importantly, there has been no consultation with the Park and Ride users, and no attempt to establish how to make the proposed Park and Ride effective.”

Labour group leader, Sandy Martin, submitted the call-in. He said: “This entire plan is vague in the extreme.”

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A county council spokesman said the call-in is being considered. If the request is accepted, the matter will be referred back to the cabinet for re-approval.