Let’s look past the simplistic

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Election time is drawing near and, once again, the question of a western bypass to alleviate Sudbury’s traffic problems has shot rapidly up the political agenda. As it does every few years, and as it has for what seems about half my lifetime.

We recently had a high-powered delegation of county councillors, and a parliamentary candidate, braving the smog of Cross Street.

Council leader Mark Bee described the volume of traffic there as an eye-opener. Probably made them water as well.

One of the conclusions the delegation reached was that all the new houses planned for the Sudbury area will inevitably generate more traffic. Gosh. Never in a million years would I have thought of that.

One week later, another pressure group emerges, calling for a masterplan for the town, and not a western bypass, which they describe as an “oversimplistic and outdated 1970s idea”. Some interesting discussions lie ahead.

Their point that building more roads simply encourages urban sprawl is a valid one, if not new.

You only have to look at Braintree to see that, what was once a bypass, is now part of the town, with buildings on both sides in places.

And I can sympathise with the suggestion that Cross Street be taken off the strategic lorry route, although doing that would simply move it outside someone else’s front door.

But whatever alternative routes are suggested, none of the roads coming into Sudbury are good enough.

Maybe we do need a radical solution, in the form of a weight limit, which might just concentrate quite a few minds beyond the six months leading up to the 2015 general election.

Then we might move a little more swiftly to a long-term solution, instead of finding that yet another 10 years have somehow slipped by in the fog.

But I’m not holding my breath.

On a recent visit to Wales, we spent a day in Merthyr Tydfil, part of the time visiting Cyfarthfa Castle, built in the 19th century by one of the iron and steel magnates.

The castle and grounds are open to visitors, and financed by the district council. Babergh please note.

Apart from the customary art and artefacts, the entire ground floor is given over to a museum, which traces the history of the district from prehistoric times to the present day. And it’s excellent.

There is a token £1 charge for admission, but us retired folk get in free.

So by way of a donation, we decided to get something from the gift shop – a tray. Predictably, it had pictures of sheep, which were described on it as “wooly”.

The tray obviously came from the same source as one we purchased in Sudbury. This had pictures of a cat on it, which was said to have a “curios” nose.

And finally. One of the local papers in Barry carried an advert from a garage offering warranties on used cars which give “total piece of mind motoring”.

Obviously had some tough times with unhappy customers.