A Sudbury residents’ group is seeking funds for a computer-generated model of what a potential bypass for the town might look like, in the hope of fostering a more informed debate.
The Sandy Lane and Area Action Group, which describes itself as a “non-political residents’ group”, has launched a project on the online fundraising website Crowdfunder, which aims to raise £400 to create professional computer simulations of two possible routes for a Sudbury bypass.
Opinion has been split on the push to deliver a relief road since the launch of a parliamentary petition in support of a bypass by South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, with opponents since launching a counter-petition against the proposal.
But the Sandy Lane group says it is neither in favour nor in opposition to the bypass – instead, it is hopeful this visualisation project, if successfully funded, will stimulate discussion and raise design awareness among all stakeholders.
Theo Bird, of the Sandy Lane group, which currently has between 10 and 15 members, told the Free Press: “There has been some discussion about the bypass, but very little to go on.
“Our local MP has sent us a letter drumming up support for the petition, but we feel there is not enough to go on to win our signature.
“The campaign is neither for or against the bypass. We want to get a more informed opinion.
“It’s about stimulating debate and enabling people to have an opinion based on better quality information.
“We think it is in the best interests of people in the local area to find out what it will look like and what impact it will have.
“We really need to have more debate and get more discussion going between stakeholders and councillors. Politically, it feels like there has been a culture of discussions behind closed doors and we want to encourage more openness. That’s the positive way to govern.”
The computer simulation will use Google Maps data and existing material on the bypass proposal published by Suffolk County Council, which has also been invited to participate in this new project.
The model is intended to feature camera views of certain key locations in Sudbury, such as the town’s historic water meadows, which some people have speculated could be affected by the road.
Mr Bird added that the project would also aim to visualise lower-cost traffic improvements to promote further discussions about more realistic short-term improvements to the existing traffic problems in the town.
No specific route has yet been finalised for any potential bypass, with Mr Cartlidge stating it was standard practice to debate the principle of the scheme before this, in large part due to the large amount of work and costs involved in developing detailed routes.
Mr Cartlidge said last week: “If people sign my parliamentary petition, they are supporting the bypass in principle, so that we can show the Government that there is support for a scheme, but this would not remove anyone’s right to object to any final route proposal if it was not to their liking.”
To view the Visualisation Sudbury fundraising page, go online to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/visualisation-sudbury-bypass-alternate-ideas