St John’s By-election

It was great to be out in the Saturday morning sunshine knocking on doors with James Harding, County Council candidate for St John’s. I have known James for just over a year and since then I have known him to be an engaging, enthusiastic and knowledgable young man. He spent many hours over many months helping my candidacy earlier in the year and it is a pleasure to repay the favour.
James would make an excellent County Councillor who would take his responsibilities seriously and would serve the people of St John’s with great pride.

Improving bus and rail services

Suffolk needs a strong and reliable transport network. We need a transport network that can help our businesses thrive, but also help us all get out – visit friends, family and enjoy ourselves.

That’s why we have been working with Network Rail and train operators across our county as part of our campaign for the best possible train services for the people of Suffolk.

That’s why we have pledged to repair 1,000 miles of Suffolk’s roads over the next four years and set up specialist teams to deal with issues like drainage more quickly – keeping our roads in better repair and more accessible.

That’s why we continued our investment in community transport through our Connecting Communities scheme, which has extended services in rural areas, providing people with a reliable community transport service to get them to college, work and hospital.

Manifesto Pledge

Conservative Suffolk County Council Committed to Ipswich Northern Route

Ipswich Conservatives are delighted with Conservative-run Suffolk County Council’s commitment to improve transport movement in the Ipswich area and to deal with existing and expected congestion.

Other ideas to improve the A14 junctions around the town are also being developed by the county council working with Highways England.

The first stage of the northern routes study has considered the transport conditions, based on current planned growth and identified highway improvements, including the Upper Orwell Crossings.

Initial routes have been identified for a potential link between the A12 and A14; and are:

  • an inner corridor from Martlesham to Claydon
  • an middle corridor from Woodbridge to Claydon
  • and an outer corridor from Melton to Needham Market.

Chris Chambers commented –

This is fantastic news and something the Labour led Borough Council should take note of and stop with its ridiculous northern fringe development plan. I have always said, the northern fringe development should NOT go ahead until a northern relief road has been built. I hope a Conservative led county council can work with Conservative MP Ben Gummer to get this northern route done quickly so we can continue to move Ipswich forward.

Ben Gummer MP has commented –

“We’ve had good news recently on the Upper Orwell Crossings.  But I promised two new routes at the last election: one across the river and one around the top of the town.  I want to update you on where we are with that second vital pledge.

“Let’s start with some simple facts.  Leaving aside the merits of a new road for a minute – and I shall return to them shortly – you have to be very, very sure you need one before you start to build.  Roads have the potential to cause the demolition of buildings, cover hundreds of acres in tarmac, eat up farmland, put natural habitats at risk, divide communities and cause significant, unpleasant noise.  So if a new road is proposed, the first question you need to ask is “is it absolutely necessary?”  If the answer to that question is “yes”, then your second question must always be: “how can we build this road so that it does the least damage possible?”

“So, how does this apply to a new road around the top of the town.  Each of us knows about the increase in congestion around the north of the town, and when the Orwell Bridge is shut the town comes to a halt.  These are strong arguments on their own but what is stronger still is the prospect of growth: if the town is to expand, which is surely will in the years ahead – and not by a little but by a great deal – then we simply cannot do that without new infrastructure.

“I came to this conclusion shortly after I was elected in 2010, when the scale of the Northern Fringe and what followed it became clear.  At the time, both councils refused to think about a new road – frightened, I suppose, by what it would entail.  I didn’t feel we could dodge the question, however, which is why I lobbied them hard to get the planning process started.  In 2015 they agreed and commissioned an outline route survey, the simple results of which are shown in the picture.

“We are now in the process of discovering which route to choose.  Given that the report already indicates that the ‘Lower’ and ‘Middle’ routes are the best, I believe we have a simple choice: which one can be delivered most quickly, with least pain and damage to the communities and habitats it will affect.

“This will clearly be a difficult discussion for those people who live and own land to the north of Ipswich.  We must all be sensitive to that.  But we should also be straight about what would happen if we do not build.  Their villages and country lanes will become increasingly clogged with rat-running traffic, creating precisely the nuisance that they fear from a new road.

“But as the report makes quite clear, the effect would be even worse on Ipswich.  Given that it is our county town that is the largest engine of jobs, prosperity and opportunity in the county, stifling that growth would also have the effect of limiting the opportunities and prosperity of the villages and market towns too.  For if the county wants the school, college and university places, the careers, the parks and museums, the shops and restaurants, the cinemas and the theatres, that Ipswich already provides and will do so much more of in the years to come, then Ipswich must be helped to prosper and grow.

“More than that, if we are to have the new houses that people need, the starter homes that will mean that everyone has the chance of having a place of their own, then we need to build.  And if those homes are not built around Ipswich, then they will be by the hundred in the same villages and by the thousands in the same market towns that are seeking to protect themselves from excessive growth.

“So, having made a decision we need a new road – not just for the good of Ipswich but for Suffolk too – we must now choose a route that realises that end as quickly and positively as possible.  I will push hard for that decision and then, as quickly as possible, for that decision to turn into reality.”

Only a Conservative County Council working with our Conservative MPs and Conservative councillors can be trusted to deliver on this long-term project  – Labour , supported by Liberal Democrats, would put it all at risk with their dangerous plans to spend all the Council’s reserves leaving no money for all the essential services and investment the town and County need.

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Tories vote against Northern Fringe Development

Ipswich Labour led Council Approves 1st Outline Application for Ipswich Garden Suburb

Ipswich Conservatives regret that serious concerns were not given further thought before the planning application was approved at the planning committee on Wednesday 8 February. We accept that there is a need for additional housing in Ipswich, however this application for Ipswich Garden Suburb (IGS) has in our opinion been prematurely rushed through.

Those concerns are:

a) Traffic is a major issue as there is already much congestion in the area. With 1100 dwellings the Henley Gate development alone will ultimately add at least 1500 cars to those already using Henley Road as cars will only be able to access the development from Henley Road. There will be a severe impact on the traffic using Henley Road and particularly the Henley Road/Valley Road junction. This is acknowledged by the Highway Authority. Further air pollution will be inevitable and will impact adversely on air quality for local residents.

b) Following extensive work between Ben Gummer MP and Suffolk County Council, the latter recently published some new possible route options for a northern relief road– often also referred to as a ‘Northern Bypass’. Insufficient attention was paid at the planning meeting for the urgent need for this northern route to alleviate the traffic problems. The application could have been delayed until the position on the by-pass had been clarified.

c) The increased traffic and inevitable congestion on Henley Road will lead to rat-running through the roads on The Crofts and the Whitton estate. Consideration needs to be given as to how this problem could be mitigated in the interests of local residents. The £100,000 proposed in the Section 106 Agreement to deal with this problem is completely inadequate.

d) The planning application for Henley Gate is being considered before the Borough Council has formally approved the Infrastructure Development Plan for the IGS. It would be far more sensible to agree an overall Infrastructure Plan – and how it is going to be financed with all the developers involved in the IGS first. This piecemeal approach to infrastructure development will not be to the benefit of the residents of the development in the long term and risks long delays whilst details are being worked out.

e) We feel that there has been inadequacy in consultation with local people about the whole development which will cover many acres of greenfield space and add a significant extension to Ipswich.

In conclusion, we feel it would have made sense to delay the planning meeting a short time so that the details relating to traffic, infrastructure etc could have been worked out in a more comprehensive way.

Northern Fringe development

After knocking on doors and hearing from many concerned residents, I felt it necessary to publish my views on the proposed “Ipswich Garden Suburb” development, better known as the Northern Fringe development. As someone that is running to become your County Councillor this May, I believe it is important that you know my position on the current proposal.

As it stands, I have very strong reservations about the current proposals being put forward. I know my feelings are shared with Ipswich Conservatives and our Member of Parliament, Ben Gummer.

Our town is already suffering with traffic congestion, overcrowded schools and pollution. Building more homes without infrastructure improvements is a recipe for disaster. It is my opinion that no development should take place without: some form of “Northern Bypass” being built first, more school places and a plan to deal with rubbish and pollution. I know these are all issues Ben Gummer MP is working on very closely with Suffolk County Council.

If I am elected to serve you in May, I will take my role seriously in opposing this development in its current form. It is in my opinion that the current plan is wholly ill thought out.

In order to stand with residents and oppose the current plan, I need your help to get me elected in May.

Since Labour currently insist in forcing this current plan through, it is important that Suffolk County Council get a Conservative majority to empower me to push both Councils to review the current approved master plan for the site.
To you, of course, this may not be about politics, you may want someone to listen to your views and represent you. I am promising to do just that and work alongside our MP, Ben Gummer, to implement a positive change in Ipswich and Suffolk.

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Campaigning for my positive vision