Category Archives: Transport

Suffolk Roadworks Need to Catch up with Everywhere Else!

Letter from Sandra Gage, Leader of the Labour Group on Suffolk County Council

Dear Editor

On Saturday 2 September the Government Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, announced plans to charge Utilities and other highway contractors lane rental by the hour to close our busiest roads in much of the UK to carry out utility or road repairs.

Though this is expected to only apply to Motorway and Trunk roads, it is long overdue and welcome. It will not though, regrettably help us much in Suffolk. Here there are no Motorways, and only the A14, A11 A12 south of Ipswich and A47 in Lowestoft Trunk roads where these new, stricter rules could apply. The rest of the road network and therefore the responsibility of keeping the roads free of over-run roadworks rests with Suffolk County Council.

Continue reading Suffolk Roadworks Need to Catch up with Everywhere Else!

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Oulton Broad By-Election Labour Candidate Len Jacklin Supports Lowestoft Third Crossing

 

Dear Editor

This is a rarity, I want to wholeheartedly agree with Peter Aldous MP, Cllr Colin Noble Leader Suffolk County Council and Cllr Mark Bee Leader Waveney District Council.

Getting David Cameron to come and support Peter Aldous and then to get him to promise our Third Crossing was an act of desperation. It was a cynical move to get Mr Aldous re-elected in 2015 and this year, but it worked and as a result we are well into the process of achieving our aspiration of a third crossing. I was a cynic I was a doubter but I am now confident that even people whose judgement I have questioned in the past are now serious.

The plans just announced by Suffolk County Council will not be welcomed by everyone, there will be moaners that say it shouldn’t be a lifting bridge, or that they don’t like the design, there will be people who will say it will never get built, there will be those who want it sooner.

In the current financial climate getting this amount of funding is a real achievement and the top up from Suffolk County Council, not usually willing to actually use it’s, (our) reserves is to be lauded. The design is better than I had reason to expect given the constricted area for access and is pleasing to the eye and the height will mean fewer openings than our existing bascule bridge. Yes, it will take a little longer than some people expected, I myself though am very impressed that an engineering project of this size and complexity which by comparative standards should usually take ten years will be completed in just over six.

The consultation process is soon to begin, should be supported by everyone who ever complained about the existing bascule bridge. Everyone will get the ability to take part, we need to encourage friends, neighbours and family to use this opportunity to show our support and reply to the consultation, yes “they” should know, but this consultation is a procedural requirement by central government, we need to make sure they know.

For years Suffolk County Council and the New Anglia LEP had refused to respond to public demand to build a third crossing, and ease Lowestoft’s traffic congestion. The Suffolk County Council Local Transport Plan 2011-2031 for Lowestoft talks about there being ‘a need in the longer term to secure funding’ and New Anglia LEP, described the project as an afterthought in a three-line paragraph as “A third Crossing over Lake Lothing in Lowestoft remains a long term aspiration”.   In 2013, in response to lobbying from newly elected Lowestoft (Labour) County Councillors this changed, and two years ago in response to more lobbying, a ridiculous proposal to put another bridge next to the current one was seriously proposed by Peter Aldous, Colin Noble, and Mark Bee was dropped in favour of the one proposed now. I am so glad that pressure by the citizens of Waveney have made them all see sense, I’m now convinced they have.

Yours sincerely

Len Jacklin

Labour Candidate for Oulton Broad

Waveney District Council By-Election

Oulton Suffolk County Councillor 2013-2017

 

Thank You ‘Save the Ipswich Shuttle Bus’ Campaigners

I would like to give my thanks to all those who signed, got involved with, and followed the efforts of our recent ‘Save Our Ipswich Shuttle’ campaign.

1090 people signed the petition and sent in comments. Many described limited mobility, need to make quick shopping trips, the easiness of jumping on and off, the undoubted friendliness of the drivers and fellow passengers as reasons why they regularly used it. I surveyed both the peak morning and lunch time journeys and found that in peak times 350 to 400 passengers travel from within the town itself on it. Not just to the Public Sector campus, but various places on the route. Lunchtimes between 90 and 150 travels daily into town; I estimated that this could add annually as much as £390,000 to the Ipswich town centre economy.

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Ipswich Shuttle Bus – Labour Councillors Stepping in to Save it

Suffolk County Council announced a month ago that it intended to cut the Free Ipswich Shuttle bus at the end of July. Transferring the funding received from County Council staff car park charges to a trial free Park and Ride fares for County Council staff travelling into Ipswich by car.

Continue reading Ipswich Shuttle Bus – Labour Councillors Stepping in to Save it

‘Labour campaigning to save the Ipswich Shuttle’

We believe Suffolk County Council’s decision to cut the free shuttle bus is undemocratic. It will hit the town centre’s economy, disproportionally affect the less mobile and disabled, people who cannot afford a car, and all Ipswich residents who use it.

This petition is organised by Ipswich residents and Ipswich Labour Councillors. It will be presented to Suffolk County Council, asking them to reverse their decision to cut the Ipswich Free Shuttle.

Click on the link to download the petition: Shuttle Bus Petition – July 2017

Please send any completed forms back to Cllr Sandra Gage – sandra.gage@suffolk.gov.uk – by no later than Tuesday 18 July. The petition will then be presented to Cllr James Finch on Thursday 20 July.

Ipswich Shuttle Bus is Axed

Suffolk County Council has today announced the end of the Ipswich Free Shuttle, without any public consultation or like for like replacement bus for Ipswich residents.

Suffolk County Council collects £300,000 a year from its staff car park charges and this funds the Ipswich, Lowestoft and Bury St. Edmunds free shuttle buses. Ipswich shuttle bus 38 costs £73,000 a year to run and offers a free round town bus ride for everyone from 7am to 7pm Monday -Friday. Originally set up in 2004 when the County Council moved from County Hall St. Helens Street to Endeavour House, Russell Road, it is popular with residents and employees of both Suffolk County and Ipswich Borough Councils.

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Labour’s call to introduce a ‘Permit Scheme’ to make roadworks more efficient and reduce congestion voted down at Full Council

Conservative Councillors vote down Labour’s ‘Permit Scheme’ Motion for faster and more cost effective roadworks at today’s session of Full Council.

The County Council Labour Group brought forward a motion on Thursday 16th March calling for the implementation of a new ‘Permit Scheme’ for highways maintenance – a programme that is already used by 85 Local Authorities across England and proven to increase the efficiency of roadworks, while reducing costs for the Council. More importantly, the use of ‘Permit Schemes’ is shown to reduce congestion caused by road works, improve journey time and reliability for all road users, and augment the information available to the public, including advanced warning and duration of works.

Under a Permit Scheme, anyone intending to carry out works on the road has to make an application to the relevant Local Authority for a permit. In addition, the Authority’s power to grant or refuse a permit, as well as applying conditions to the timings and/or work activity, is significantly increased. Through such capabilities, any Authority operating a permit scheme will be able to coordinate and control works on the road, with the aim to improve both the planning and preparation of works.

Labour Spokesperson for Transport, Sandra Gage, said “As a County Councillor, one of the most consistent concerns that residents have raised has been around roadworks. Whether they drive, bus, cycle or walk, all have come across the poorly organised, sometimes unoccupied, badly signed and often over-run roadworks. In towns and villages across Suffolk, journey times to work, college, school, doctor and hospital appointments are made unpredictable. This is deeply inconvenient for the public and costly for our local economy.”

Cllr Gage continued, “Permit schemes already in place elsewhere in this region – in Norfolk, Essex, Bedford, Hertfordshire, Luton and Southend – have been designed to ensure these councils can successfully undertake their ‘duty to manage’ and therefore minimise the disruption the public experiences. Currently in Suffolk, we have a longer duration of closure within which there will be some days of actual working on site. Sometimes, a stretch of road will be cordoned off for a whole week for maintenance that only takes half a day’s work to complete. By issuing permits only for the planned actual duration of works, these Councils across the East of England have been able to drive up efficiency and reduce inconvenience to the public. A Permit Scheme in Suffolk will also cost the Council nothing to run and stands to save the Council around £4.5million in highways maintenance costs after 3 years.”

Cllr Gage concluded “I am deeply disappointed that the Conservatives have decided to let political pettiness get in the way of their duty to Suffolk residents. Reduced congestion and fewer delays caused by roadworks is what I believe Suffolk residents are asking for. It seems that it’s just this Council’s Conservative Administration that is stopping Suffolk becoming the 86th Council to adopt a roadworks Permit scheme, and rid this County of poorly managed roadworks. If the Labour Group take control of the Council on May 4th, we will listen to residents and implement a highways permit scheme.”

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Letter to Lowestoft Journal – Carlton Colville road safety

The following is a letter published in today’s Lowestoft Journal.

Dear Sir,

I have noticed in a recent publication of this paper that there has been a misleading account of who has brought about the planned works to resolve road safety at Carlton Primary School.

It has taken a long time to get where we are now, and much pressure has been brought to bear by local Labour Councillor Sonia Barker on Suffolk County Council to firstly acknowledge the problem they left the school with after School Organisation Review, and secondly that they would need to propose new and improved footways and crossing points, encouraging walking and cycling to stop the gridlock outside the school from parked cars.
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