The Leader of East Suffolk Council, Cllr Steve Gallant, has issued the following statement on the Ipswich Northern Bypass:
“Having studied the findings from the strategic outline business case and the public consultation, I can confirm that East Suffolk Council does not support the proposals for the new Ipswich Northern Route. I have been clear throughout this process that impacts on communities in our district would have to be taken into consideration and I do not believe our residents’ interests would be best served by continuing with the project.
“The reality is that this new road will only happen if additional homes are built to justify it and, at the moment, a figure as high as 15,000 new properties would be required to make it financially viable. According to standard Planning estimates, this could lead to a new settlement with a population greater than Felixstowe and three times the size of Woodbridge, with a further 20,000 additional cars on the road.
“It is clear that new homes are needed in the district. However, the required growth has already been carefully considered and is laid out in our Local Plans. East Suffolk has a duty to represent the interests of our local residents and the significant extra housing that this project demands would place a genuine strain on existing communities and their quality of life.
“The primary purpose of a new road would be to cut down congestion elsewhere, however the potential volume of new and additional traffic is worrying. In addition, the cost estimates are troubling and even without any legal challenge we would not see a road built before 2027.
“The focus of East Suffolk in respect of transport infrastructure improvements needs to focus on potential projects which have the greatest positive impact on our district. These include improvements to the Orwell Bridge, The Copdock and Seven Hills junctions, and enhancements to the A12 from Felixstowe to Lowestoft, including campaigning for the re-trunking of this strategic road.
“East Suffolk Council entirely supports infrastructure projects which provide clear, unarguable benefits to our local communities and businesses. We fully support the decision by Suffolk Public Sector Leaders to complete this study and public consultation. However, it is clear from the outcome that there will be significant impact on residents in the south of our district and I remain unconvinced that the benefits will outweigh a range of negative effects”.