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Babergh gives backing to Sudbury bypass...more than a year after project is canned

PUBLISHED: 13:45 17 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:45 17 February 2020

View over Sudbury showing the area that could be used for the bypass. Picture: GREGG BROWN

View over Sudbury showing the area that could be used for the bypass. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A Suffolk council is continuing to support a Sudbury bypass project over the next three years as one of the key economic projects – despite the scheme having been axed more than a year ago.

Councillor Michael Holt said it remained in the plan should the project be revived. Picture: PAUL NIXONCouncillor Michael Holt said it remained in the plan should the project be revived. Picture: PAUL NIXON

Plans for a Sudbury bypass were shelved in November 2018 because costs would be between £50 million and £70m - a figure deemed too high for the benefits it would bring.

READ MORE: SnOasis talks near completion

Instead, Suffolk County Council said it would assess junction improvements in the town which would cost significantly less.

But in Babergh and Mid Suffolk's joint corporate plan, it says the authorities will "support the delivery of strategic infrastructure projects, including Sudbury transport plan, SnOasis, Chilton Woods and Sudbury Relief Road".

Those projects are listed for 2020-23.

Cllr Robert Lindsay has been critical of the scheme in the past. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCllr Robert Lindsay has been critical of the scheme in the past. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The plan has raised questions over Babergh's backing of the Sudbury route given that it was axed more than a year ago, but it says it has not given up on it happening entirely.

Councillor Michael Holt, Babergh District Council's cabinet member for economic growth, said: "We are very well aware of the traffic problems facing Sudbury and are supportive of measures to help alleviate them.

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"This is why, for example, we have worked with Suffolk County Council to improve traffic flow and, therefore, air quality in Cross Street and together are sharing proposals to improve junctions and bus routes in and around the town centre.

A campaign for a Sudbury bypass went to Parliament in 2017. Picture: GREGG BROWNA campaign for a Sudbury bypass went to Parliament in 2017. Picture: GREGG BROWN

"We are of course aware that the county is not currently working on progressing the Sudbury relief road project, but this doesn't mean our interest in it should wane. "Including the road in this list of projects and programmes is simply confirmation that we stand ready to work with the county council should it wish to, and in the meantime we will pursue other projects to help the people of Sudbury and Babergh as a whole."

The project had divided opinion, with some saying it is desperately needed to solve the town's traffic woes, while others raised concerns on the impact it would have on the surrounding area - particularly around the Water Meadows.

Councillor Robert Lindsay, Green group leader who has been involved in the campaign against a relief road, said: "We certainly should not be including the bypass as a project to support. The money from the DFT is not there and will not be in the future since the climate crisis means we have to reduce road space for motorised vehicles not increase it.

"We should fund a project that looks at sustainable transport in Sudbury, reducing car use and increasing cycling and walking and buses.

"Make Sudbury a walking and cycling town. One possibility could be a ultra-low emission zone for the town, with polluting vehicles wanting to enter having to pay to a ring-fenced fund that supports public transport.

"Another possibility might be a workplace parking levy. Any fees for car parking need to be ring-fenced for public transport investment, walking and cycling.

"Moving the lorry route out of town is also worth looking at but it needs to be combined with measures to encourage people to leave their cars at home."

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