Council gives backing for new A12 bypass

COUNCIL chiefs have thrown their weight behind calls for a new bypass on the A12 near Sizewell.

Andy Smith, cabinet member for planning at Suffolk Coastal District Council, said there was a desperate need to improve the busy, narrow stretch of road, and cut journey times between Lowestoft and Ipswich.

The new bypass would end the misery suffered by residents in Marlesford, Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Farnham.

It would also provide a major boost for businesses in Lowestoft and Waveney, who say that a lack of progress in upgrading sections of the A12 has kept the district's economy in the slow lane and acted as a barrier to inward investment.

Many believe the best chance of securing funding for the scheme – estimated at �56m in 2006 – is through the energy firm EDF, which plans to build a new nuclear power station at Sizewell. It will be asked to contribute to local transport schemes if it gets permission.

Mr Smith said talks to upgrade the road were already under way. 'We have made it clear that one of the many local issues that would have to be addressed by the developers would be improvements to the road system generally, and this stretch of the A12 in particular,' he said.

'It is not fit for purpose. This is particularly true for the four villages, where the A12 is narrow and twisting with buildings located very close to the road. The council's preferred approach is to support in general its upgrading. This is because of its importance to local traffic movements to much of the district, and the lack of suitable alternative routes, particularly for delivery and other heavy goods vehicles.

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'Such support is, however, subject to consideration of other issues, not least the fact that the settlements are located within a Special Landscape Area. Any scheme would therefore have to carefully assess and balance the environmental impacts.'

A proposed bypass project was cancelled at the eleventh hour in 1996, but the latest calls to improve the road have also won backing from Waveney MP Peter Aldous and from Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey, as well as local parish councils.

l The Bypass 4 The Villages campaign – run by the Journal's Ipswich-based sister paper the East Anglian Daily Times – believes it needs to be built regardless of any other development and is calling on local people to sign an online petition at