Government’s new £1bn bypass fund renews optimism for Sudbury relief road

Campaign for a bypass. Pictured: Cllr Colin Spence, James Cartlidge, John Sayers, Jan and Adrian Osborn
Campaign for a bypass. Pictured: Cllr Colin Spence, James Cartlidge, John Sayers, Jan and Adrian Osborn

Long-running plans to create a £40 million relief road for Sudbury has a new opportunity to at last become reality, with the introduction of a new central government bypass fund.

The UK Department of Transport announced last week, as part of its Transport Investment Strategy, a £1 billion annual fund, which will enable local authorities to apply for grants to finance bypass projects.

Paid for by vehicle excise duty receipts, the fund was welcomed by South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, who spoke in Parliament last week of the support a bypass could bring to Sudbury by alleviating “the sheer pressure” from HGV traffic.

He is set to meet the government’s roads minister Jesse Norman in Sudbury this afternoon to make the case for the local bypass proposal, along with Suffolk County Council leader Colin Noble and Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) chairman Mark Pendlington.

“I am pleased that just a week after the announcement of the bypass fund, the minister should be visiting Sudbury to see for himself why we feel the town has such a strong case for action,” said Mr Cartlidge.

“Many constituents contacted me in the wake of the fund going public and I hope that they can see I am doing my best to make the case to the key decision makers.

“Naturally, people in Sudbury will be hopeful that this new bypass fund can include our proposed relief road for the town.

“I remain committed to the project and will do my best to lobby the Government to ensure that our proposal is one of those considered for funding, but we need to bear in mind that, even with this very welcome new money, there will be a lot of competition.”

Suggestions for a bypass to help reduce congestion in Sudbury were first raised by Suffolk County Council back in 2001, and have enjoyed strong cross-party support since then.

If brought to fruition, the scheme would enable traffic to travel between the A131 and the A134, without having to travel through the town centre.

Approximately 3.5 kilometres in length, the proposed bypass would run from the west of Sudbury to the eastern villages of Bulmer and Borley.