Business leaders in and around Bury St Edmunds have united to condemn the state of the delay-blighted A14 road.
More than 50 company directors, agency leaders and politicians voiced their fears that the county’s future economic success could be jeopardised if money is not spent soon on an A14 upgrade.
Lengthy and costly delays on the 127 mile-long dual carriageway that links Suffolk to the Port of Felixstowe and the M1, have long been a headache for business leaders.
Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill told a Suffolk Chamber of Commerce-organised business breakfast at The Athenaeum: “The challenges of infrastructure have the potential to stop the growth of small and medium sized enterprises in Suffolk.
“It is now the right time for the right investment as upgrading the A14 would see the government receive even more back from our county as the economy will grow and business will prosper even further.
“The recent works on the A14 around Histon and Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire are welcome but they do not mean the A14 job is done.
Business in Bury St Edmunds and across Suffolk is demanding a road that can serve our growing economy and that of UK plc.Stephen Britt, chairman of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce transport group
“Six of the seven MPs here in Suffolk have the A14 going through their constituency.
“As your elected representatives we continue to make the case to government for more investment in the A14 but that call needs the voice of business to be effective.”
Stephen Britt, chairman of the chamber’s transport infrastructure group, who chaired the event, said: “There is no doubt the A14 is not fit for purpose. Business in Bury St Edmunds and across Suffolk is demanding a road that can serve our growing economy and that of UK plc.”
Cllr James Finch, Cabinet Member for Transport at Suffolk County Council, said an upgrade was vital.
“Problems on the A14 at peak times are very costly to the local economy and for that reason we’ll continue to support this campaign which is fundamental to securing the investment we need.”
John Dugmore, chamber chief executive, said: “The business leaders’ breakfast has shown that the passion and commitment from local firms is stronger than ever.
“We are encouraged that support for No More A14 Delays in Suffolk continues to grow.
“The A14 is not fit for purpose and is not fit to serve an exciting, thriving and growing Suffolk economy.”
A spokesman for Highways England explained that supporting economic growth was the priority of the agency’s £15.2 billion budget across the UK.