No Bypass anywhere near Sudbury Water Meadows
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The proposed bypass would wreck much of the countryside that makes Sudbury special. It would destroy Gainsborough Country, the landscape which inspired the great artist. It's an outdated plan which would do almost nothing to ease traffic in Sudbury.
The meadows are Sudbury’s pride and joy and along with nearby footpaths they are the best free leisure facility available to the public.
The proposed route runs from Melford Road on a raised embankment across three water meadows and cuts through the Valley Trail, the former railway line. This road would run through a designated Environmentally Sensitive Area, and would cut a large part of Sudbury off from the countryside.
But the worst is at the Ballingdon end: development. Suffolk County Council’s plan, set out in their “Business Case”, is to use the bypass to create a new town on Sudbury’s doorstep. The planners think that the new road would ”unlock” a thousand acres of countryside for housing and commercial development. According to Suffolk County Council’s own map this development zone would stretch from Middleton to Bulmer and as far south as Little Henny.
All along the bypass habitats and wildlife would be threatened; the ecology of the river banks would be harmed or destroyed and there would be an increased risk of flooding upstream and downstream. The tranquility and beauty of the area would be lost forever.
The most extraordinary thing about this plan it that the people behind it admit that it would do little to solve Sudbury’s traffic problems. Hidden on page 24 of Suffolk County Council’s “Business Case” is this statement about the effects of the bypass:
“The reduction of traffic in the town is not as large as first might be expected.”
The reason for this is simple: the vast majority of Sudbury’s traffic, more than 80%, is in Sudbury because that is where it is going. This is what a previous report (which cost Suffolk County Council £375,000) called “a fundamental statistic”. The County Council ignored it.
Sudbury has serious traffic problems, but building a costly bypass is not the answer. New roads are proven to generate more traffic, not less - especially when they create new development and infill. The Local Authority has not yet tried out any alternative solution to lessen congestion and pollution. The measures they should now take include:
- better funded public transport;
- protected cycling and walking routes to discourage car use;
- moving the Household Waste Recycling Centre from Sandy Lane to the north/eastern side of Sudbury;
- removing the Lorry Park from the town centre to the outskirts;
- 20 mph speed limits in town;
- emissions zones;
- HGV weight limits;
- implementing a one-way at Cross St/Church St;
- re-routing HGVs/LGVs via A120/A12/A14/A134
We ask Suffolk County Council to explore these measures instead of wasting public money by commissioning expensive 'Business Case' reports.
Sudbury has been promised 'growth' - but do we want our small market town to become just another large town at the expense of its beautiful water meadows?
Let's conserve our beautiful landscape, not pour concrete over it.
Bypass? No thanks!
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