The campaign to deliver a new bypass for Sudbury has reached a significant milestone, after funding was secured to develop an outline business case.
The Suffolk Public Sector Leaders Group – comprised of the county’s eight council leaders and the police and crime commissioner – has agreed to finance a business case, which will be used to support future formal bids for government funding to bring the relief road into reality.
The document, expected to be completed by the end of 2018, will set out environmental impact assessments, analysis of the financial and economic impact of the relief road, route appraisals, transport modelling and a public consultation.
Cllr Jennie Jenkins, Babergh District Council leader and chairman of the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders group, said: “For Suffolk to get the big infrastructure investments needed to grow our economy and improve our communities, we must make the best possible case to the Government.
“Developing a robust business case for the Sudbury relief road is how we do exactly that and what Suffolk Public Sector Leaders have committed support to.
“This work will analyse in great detail all aspects of this project, including various route options, so we can put forward the strongest possible arguments for financial investment in Suffolk.”
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, a supporter of the relief road campaign, hailed the funding for the business case as a “crucial step” for the project, adding that it demonstrated that local authorities in Suffolk are serious about backing a bypass and the town’s future.
“This announcement is significant for a number of reasons,” said Mr Cartlidge.
“First and foremost, the timing could not be better.
“The Government announced its new bypass fund in July and the window to access that funding will open later next year, by when this more detailed business case will hopefully be coming to fruition.
“Secondly, while I was pleased that more than 3,000 people signed my parliamentary petition for a bypass, I know that many other local people sympathetic to the cause nevertheless felt unable to sign, because they did not have a specific route or just wanted more detail.
“The whole point of this next stage is that, whereas the strategic business case already published set out the top-level arguments, this next stage will go into much greater depth – including potential routes.
“Yes, there are more hurdles to come and there will always be plenty of competition from other schemes.
“But we are doing everything we can to put Sudbury in a position to have the best chance of obtaining funding.
“In short, for the many people who support a bypass in principle, we are a step nearer to turning that aspiration into practice.”