An agreement has been put in place for the first £100,000 of funding for a western bypass for Sudbury.
The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and local authority partners have agreed to the first piece of funding to develop the case for the relief road.
The £100,000 funding will allow for further outline design work on the scheme to proceed, together with traffic modelling and environmental assessment.
There have been calls for a relief road in Sudbury to the west of the town for the past two decades, with the town centre’s one-way system struggling to cope with the demands of the A131 passing through the heart of the town.
The proposed road is seen by many as key to relieving major congestion in the town, having an effect on the historic townscape of the town and causing high pollution levels.
The backing comes as the road is seen as an important part of Sudbury’s expansion, including the proposed 1,250-home Chilton Woods site.
A key part of any LEP funding would be to have a business case, illustrating how the road could unlock future economic growth and prosperity in Sudbury and the wider area.
The New Anglia Local Transport Body (LTB) has agreed to funding on the basis a study will provide Suffolk County Council with the initial funding it needs to develop further plans for the road.
Mark Pendlington, chairman of the LEP and the LTB said: “Sudbury is at the heart of our Suffolk economy and deserves to have the best possible transport links.
“Carrying out preparatory work into a bypass is one of the ambitions of our Strategic Economic Plan.
“This has been about great collaboration and thanks go to James Cartlidge MP, Suffolk County Council, Babergh District Council and other local partners who have helped to make this happen.”
Mr Cartlidge said: “When I was selected as a candidate last July, the first campaign I launched was ‘Keep Sudbury Moving’, which included a commitment to get the bypass back on the agenda.
“We achieved that but then the next step has to be building a business case – the problem is that just as the bypass itself needs to be funded, so does the business case.
“It’s fantastic news to have confirmation that the LEP will be putting £100,000 into building the business case for a bypass, with all the technical work that entails.
“I am keenly aware how dear this cause is to the hearts of many people in Sudbury and I will continue to do all I can to move the case forward.
“Ultimately, this doesn’t mean a bypass will definitely happen, but it does mean we should end up with a professional business case that I can share with Ministers.”
Work will now begin on sourcing the additional funding that will be needed as work progresses. The initial work will begin in the New Year.