Kesgrave Town Council’s Statement on the Ipswich
Northern Route Consultation
After thorough research of the available information and subsequent discussion covering two meetings, Kesgrave Town Council has decided that it cannot give support to this initiative. This decision has not been taken lightly and the following statement is intended to explain to residents the reasons for the decision.
The Town Council strongly identifies with many residents’ concerns about the congestion on our roads and the added disruption whenever the Orwell Bridge is closed, causing gridlock on roads throughout the area. Council has for several years raised these concerns with the Highways Authority, Suffolk County Council. We believe there are solutions available to alleviate the problems and that funding should be directed toward these rather than a bypass.
Our main concerns are:
• To justify the bypass (making this a very different plan to the one rejected in the 1990s) there will have to be 10-15,000 additional homes. This would be the equivalent of adding two more whole towns the size of Kesgrave in and around our wider area, and on top of an additional 20,000 that are already in District/Borough Local Plans of which 9000 are at Brightwell Lakes, Ipswich Northern Fringe, Saxmundham and Felixstowe. Taken together this will generate more traffic passing through Kesgrave not reduce it.
• There are no plans to remove the roundabouts on the A12 at Foxhall Road, BT and the Police Headquarters and replace with flyovers/underpasses and slip roads, (as undertaken on the A1M for example) to alleviate the congestion along that road by allowing the free flow of traffic and so enticing people to use a Northern bypass. Without this people will not use this route and will continue to use Foxhall Road, Dobbs Lane, Bell Lane, Penzance Road etc as ‘rat runs’.
• To cope with the Brightwell Lakes Development, it is currently proposed to manage the junctions on the A12 using traffic lights. With the increased traffic, this will cause queues which will also lead to increased pollution. We found that removing the traffic lights at St Michaels and All Saints Roundabouts improved traffic flow along the A1214. The junctions need slip roads to join the A12.
• There are no funds being made available to improve the road infrastructure for the Sizewell and/or Port of Felixstowe projects. In regard to Sizewell C it is estimated this will introduce 1500 additional daily movements of heavy goods vehicles on the A12. The Port of Felixstowe is in fact spending money on rail infrastructure to manage future growth and is a more environmentally friendly option.
• There are no plans to improve the roads in Kesgrave or alleviate the restricted access to Grange Farm to improve traffic flow.
• There are no options to provide or improve public transport, i.e. utilise the rail line that passes less than a mile from Kesgrave or provide faster or more frequent buses / bus routes.
• The traffic modelling is flawed – it only takes into account a very small proportion of any traffic generated by the planned 20,000 homes in the current District/Borough Plans nor the additional 10-15,000 needed for this project. Additionally, it does not include the traffic that would use the bypass and the A12 rather than the Orwell Bridge, nor does it include any induced traffic once the bypass is built.
• The impact on the environment would undoubtedly be very significant – both from the bypass but also the additional housing.
• The bypass would increase the likelihood of more houses being build in Kesgrave and surrounding Parishes which would undermine the identity of Kesgrave and allow further merging with our neighbouring Parishes – suburban sprawl – and erosion of our buffer land
that affords everyone some remaining sense of countryside affiliation, in what is otherwise an already heavily built up Town. Keeping this is a key part of the Draft Kesgrave Neighbourhood Plan, currently undergoing formal public consultation. It represents over two years of extensive informal consultation and engagement with residents, businesses and community groups.
• Residents also said during consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan that they wanted better air quality, wildlife conservation, improved public transport and more opportunities for safe cycling and walking.
Kesgrave Town Council could not reconcile the above aims and desires of residents, expressed through the Neighbourhood Plan with a bypass project that could very largely deliver the reverse – in the short, medium and long term. Neither is it compatible with the responsibility we all have for reducing carbon emissions for the benefit of future generations, especially as a climate emergency has been declared.