A Sudbury town councillor has pleaded with his Conservative colleagues not to make the proposed Sudbury bypass a political football.
Labour Party councillor Jack Owen welcomed the publication of a business case into building a relief road to the west of Sudbury, but insisted it should not be used by parties to gain political advantage, with work having been carried out by different parties and councils over many years.
“We are delighted that the recent survey carried out proves what we have believed for a very long time – that the traffic problems caused by HGVs coming through the centre of Sudbury justifies a bypass,” said Mr Owen.
“But it shouldn’t be a political football, with all main parties in agreement.
“When it was proposed by Labour in 2001 when we ran the council, it was Essex County Council and the Government that scuppered the plan.
“Let us all hope that we are more successful on this occasion. We shouldn’t get carried away though, this is the first stage of a long process, but, with all the main parties supporting it, we may stand a better chance of success.”
Theo Bird, a Sudbury resident campaigning for better transport and reduced congestion in the town, voiced his concern at the business case being published just weeks before the county council elections.
Suffolk County Council launched an outline business case into the long-running plans in December 2015, with £100,000 of funding coming from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.
Two weeks ago, the findings were published in a report indicating that a £40 million road would be good for business, with every £1 invested in the new road bringing around £3 of transport benefits.
It would also reduce traffic, noise and air pollution.
The report showed a relief road could result in as many as 600 fewer vehicles an hour travelling though the town centre, cutting journey times by an average of four minutes at peak times.
It also estimated that a bypass would result in a 60 per cent reduction in heavy goods vehicles going through the town centre.
Sudbury is currently included in the strategic lorry route, with lorries using the A131 and A134 to travel from Essex to Suffolk.
Sandra Gage, Suffolk Labour Group spokesperson for transport and highways said: “We all want to see an end to the traffic congestion in Sudbury; it has been an ambition for years, and can only be solved by a relief road taking traffic out of Cross Street and Market Hill.”