A residents’ group claims the case for constructing a bypass for Sudbury has been undermined by a national study into the effects of road schemes.
Sudbury Vision, a self-funded lobbying group campaigning to reduce traffic in the town without building a relief road, has called for alternative solutions to local traffic problems to be explored, pointing to a new analysis of road schemes around the country.
The study, The Impact of Road Projects in England, says that, among 13 road schemes, it found traffic increased by 47 per cent on average, over eight to 20 years, and it stated the road projects were often associated with, or followed by, further development, resulting in increased congestion.
The analysis, commissioned by the Campaign for Rural England, also said that, among 25 road schemes justified on the basis they would benefit the local economy, it did not find measurable benefits in terms of job creation or improving the potential workforce’s access to employment sites.
Sudbury Vision, which includes members from Sudbury, Bulmer, Ballingdon and Borley, previously launched a petition against the Sudbury bypass proposal, in opposition to a parliamentary petition in favour of the road, started by South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge and backed by various local business leaders and cross-party representatives.
Lincoln Grounds, a member of Sudbury Vision, said: “Residents of Sudbury, desperate for a solution to congestion rattling past their windows, keep being told by James Cartlidge and other proponents of the scheme that a bypass is the only solution to reduce traffic.
“In fact, this research shows that, after several years, a bypass is likely to increase the traffic going past their homes.
“This warning ought to sound a worrying familiar tone for Sudbury, given the outline business case for this bypass is it will unlock countryside around Borley and Bulmer for development.
“The town may be split on the issue of the bypass, but is largely united on the need for an improved traffic system.
“In short, solutions have been found and suggested from many sources over many years, and yet our leaders cling stubbornly to one solution.”
Elsewhere, the Sudbury and District Labour Party confirmed this week that it would allow its councillorss for the area the freedom to support or oppose the bypass proposal if they wished to, describing it as “clearly an issue which divides the local population”.
Emma Bishton, South Suffolk Labour Party spokeswoman and former parliamentary candidate, said: “There are some who clearly want a bypass, and others who clearly do not.
“But one thing does seem completely apparent, that it is impossible to decide if we want it without knowing where exactly it will go, what it will look like and how effective it will be.
“Give the local population that information, and let them make an informed decision. Saying there is ‘no proposed route at this stage’ does not help ease concerns or allow informed decision making.”
The party also urged more work be undertaken to provide traffic congestion relief in the short term, due to the length of time a bypass could take to be built.
It suggested improving critical junctions around the town, providing better bus services and co-ordinating roadworks to minimise disruption, as short-term measures that could be taken.