Blue on Blue debate as Tories slug it out over Ipswich northern bypass
PUBLISHED: 16:34 12 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:34 12 August 2019
Tories in Dr Dan Poulter's Central Suffolk seat are finding themselves in an increasingly acrimonious debate over proposals for a possible northern by-pass.
On the day opponents of the new road were branded "Nimbys" by Ipswich's Tory hopeful Tom Hunt, Dr Poulter - who has represented Central Suffolk and North Ipswich since 2010 - said he had found very few supporters of the proposed road in his constituency.
And the Conservative county councillor for the division that would be most seriously affected by a new road, Robin Vickery, defended his decision to back the Northern Route.
He said: "I have met many people in my division who are in favour of the road as well as those who are not. We have Dan and the two district councillors who are against it, I am balancing things up.
"There are people in Kesgrave, Claydon and many other villages who are very keen on the new road - as well as those in North Ipswich who want it."
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He said he had been surprised by the strength of some of the comments against him from those who opposed the new road - but had been to some parish councils to outline his position.
However members of other parish councils have said they had been frustrated that Mr Vickery had not visited them to hear their concerns about the proposed road.
Mr Vickery said the arguments over the new road had taken their toll and it was "probably unlikely" that he would contest his Carlford seat in the next county council elections in May 2021 - although there may be boundary changes before then anyway.
Dr Poulter said he had not come across any great level of support for the new road from his constituency: "In the near ten years that I have been MP I think I've had about half a dozen letters in support of a northern road.
"There is a great deal of concern among the communities to the north of Ipswich about the impact of any new road and the 15,000 homes it might bring, changing the character of the area for ever."
Even areas which had expressed some support were now changing their minds: "There was some support for the road in Kesgrave, but when people looked at the proposal and the likelihood of pushing more traffic on to the A12 between Martlesham and Woodbridge many changed their minds."