Relief Road or Traffic Magnet?
A major new road through the southern part of our constituency is planned.
The Conservative leaders of Suffolk County Council, Babergh, Mid Suffolk, East Suffolk and West Suffolk District Councils plus the Labour leader of Ipswich Borough Council are planning a North Ipswich Bypass.
The plans are part of their post-Brexit vision. The “offer” is designed to be a traffic magnet, attracting lorries and commercial traffic from the so-called ‘Midlands Engine’, the ‘Logistic Golden Triangle’, the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and the ‘Oxford-Cambridge Arc’.
Labour’s 2017 manifesto promised to use railways to get freight of the road, but the Council Leaders’ plans make no reference to the potential of our rail infrastructure to improve flows of freight around the country and through the local ports.
Residents of North Ipswich and Kesgrave deserve a solution to the traffic congestion caused by occasional closures of the Orwell bridge. How do the new plans – designed to attract traffic to the area – contribute to easing traffic congestion to the North of Ipswich? They seem be as far from what is needed as one can get.
What is on offer is a ‘development corridor’ – a major dual carriageway, with vast new junctions and intersections along the way. As the Council leaders make clear – the real aim is to develop 975,000 square meters of commercial ‘floorspace’ and massive new housing estates with some 30,000 houses.
You can read about the plans at: http://www.ipswichnorthernroute.org.uk. The proposed routes are at: https://ipswichnorthernroute.org.uk/maps-and-route/corridor-maps/.
Some groups – such as Extinction Rebellion (XR) – say that such development is incompatible with what we need to do in response to the ‘Climate Emergency’. That emergency was recently acknowledged by parliament, on the back of a Labour motion tabled by Jeremy Corbyn. (You can read and sign XR’s petition calling on Suffolk County Council to “ACT NOW to deliver on its climate and environmental obligations” here: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/suffolk-county-council-act-now
The Council Leaders aim to get direct approval from the Secretary of State for Transport in order to avoid a public enquiry. They aim to have built the road by 2027.
Soon, we’ll be organising a meeting in the constituency to allow members to have their say.