Following challenges to the Travel Ipswich plans of the Suffolk County Council administration, Labour Councillors have won a number of battles to stop unnecessary changes, more roadworks and increased traffic problems on Ipswich’s road network.
Labour Councillors have repeatedly asked for better public information and consultation on further changes to Ipswich’s roads. On Monday, the County Council responded to these requests.
Sandra Gage, Labour Spokesperson for transport said ‘I welcome the Council’s acceptance of the need for public consultation on the proposals to make changes to Woodbridge Road/Argyle Street, Felixstowe Road/Nacton Road and Norwich Road/Valley Road junctions.’
Labour Councillors supported local opinion and challenged the removal of the double roundabouts at Norwich Rd/Valley Rd. We welcome the County’s u-turn to keep the roundabout and improve pedestrian crossings on all the approaches providing the signals are purely pedestrian-demand controlled.
The County Council admits there is no problem at the Felixstowe Road/Nacton Road junction and has at last has agreed to listen to the public on any future changes. Labour Councillors want the Council to look at ways to reduce rat running in all the nearby roads. Traffic signals at this junction could simply move traffic from the bottom of Bishops Hill to the top, where it would affect residents even more.
The County Council needs to prove the benefit of traffic lights at Woodbridge Road /Argyle Street before spending up to £100,000 on them. Congestion here is a problem, but traffic lights could stop traffic heading out of town which could make things worse. Labour Councillors have asked that this is looked at again, before the junction is changed.
These 3 junctions were not part of the original Travel Ipswich scheme, and it has not been made clear how they would ease traffic congestion.
Labour Councillors are suggesting that any money saved by not implementing these schemes should be spent on remedying the deficiencies in other parts of the scheme including the lack of toilets at Old Cattle Market; inadequate shelter for Felixstowe buses at Old Cattle Market; enabling National Express to use Old Cattle Market; ensuring there is variable message signing; and rectifying the inadequate number of RTPI bus stops.
Cllr Gage added “Ipswich Labour Councillors support the principle of Travel Ipswich, but the Conservative County Council needs to listen to local views. It helps nobody to ‘talk down’ Ipswich by saying that it is easier to shop and work in other towns. Labour will work constructively with Ipswich residents and the County to get the best result possible for our town.”