Ipswich northern bypass march: 4,500 sign protest petition

Ipswich protest
Image caption About 500 protesters marched from the Cornhill in Ipswich to Endeavour House the HQ of Suffolk County Council

About 500 people led by an MP marched to a county council HQ to hand in a 4,500-signature petition protesting against a proposed bypass.

Suffolk County Council's consultation on the Ipswich northern bypass ends later on Friday.

Protesters said the intention is to build 20,000 homes, destroying countryside and increasing pollution.

The council said it accepted the petition on behalf of all local authorities which supported a bypass.

Dr Dan Poulter, Conservative MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said: "The idea this is a town v country issue is completely wrong.

"Today shows the depth of feeling throughout Suffolk and the county council should listen."

Three alternative routes have been proposed for the multi-million pound bypass which would link the A14/A140 and the A12.

Opponents claimed the scheme would cost the taxpayer millions of pounds, without reducing traffic.

Image copyright Suffolk County Council
Image caption Three routes have been proposed for the northern bypass in Ipswich

In a statement the Conservative-run county council said: "We fully support peaceful protest. The county council is happy to accept this petition on behalf of all the local authorities of Suffolk who are supporting this stage of the northern route."

A 700-strong online petition has also been compiled by those supporting a bypass who said they were fed up "with being fobbed off for nearly 25 years".

"If we are expected to shoulder the burden of population, housing, transport and freight, then we need the infrastructure and highways to do the job," a supporting statement said.

Ipswich Borough Council's Labour leader David Ellesmere said support for a northern bypass was long-standing because of the need to reduce town centre congestion, and major problems across the whole town when the A14 Orwell Bridge was closed due to accidents or high winds.

"It will enable more development and the most sustainable place is in and around Ipswich," he said.

The Labour Group on the county council, supported by the Ipswich Labour MP Sandy Martin, said a dual carriageway inner route was its most desirable option.

The group was critical of its Conservative opponents' backing for the aborted Upper Orwell Crossings project, which was promoted ahead of a northern bypass at a cost of £8m.

Image caption MP Dr Dan Poulter with the protest leaders handing in the petition at Suffolk County Council's Ipswich headquarters

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