Response, as County Councillor for Woodbridge to SCC’s Consultation on A12 Improvements: ‘Seven Hills’ to A1152 ‘Woods Lane’
Overview You describe the objectives of the scheme as to “improve” these 11 km of the A12 because this is the area where improvements are most needed. I am afraid I disagree fundamentally with this viewpoint.
However, I am very supportive of the cycling and pedestrian schemes proposed within my division.
Below I give my response to each of the points in your rationale. You say these works will
- improve the capacity of the major road network. What you mean is you will increase the number of vehicles but without thought as to the likely outcome of this increase (which is, ‘induced demand’. As they say “Trying to cure traffic congestion by adding more capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt.”).
- reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability on the A12 by putting traffic lights on roundabouts – This was so unsuccessful on the Kesgrave Road, that as I recall, they were removed shortly afterwards. Is this a wise idea on the main artery along the Suffolk Coast?
- improve connectivity to the region’s ports. There are no ports between Seven Hills and Woods Lane: surely improvement to connectivity could be better focussed?
- support local economic growth and the creation of jobs. How? By the physical act of building these roads? Surely it will just be just moving people from one place to another?
- support the delivery of planned housing growth. Would it not be better to plan for wholly sustainable transport for these planned houses? I note with sorrow that in this consultation public transport measures are – as ever – without substance, and called “potential measures” rather than “proposals”.
- support the visitor economy. How? (See below)
- support the Energy Coast. Here is a strange anomaly. The Energy Coast is what SCC has recently rechristened the erstwhile Heritage Coast. These two Coasts cannot exist side by side. This dichotomy of intention (more Energy = less Heritage) will hardly support the visitor economy, – particularly considering the building of Sizewell C and the Friston sub-station – plus the energy delivery pathways over the next 10 years.
- mitigate the traffic impacts of the proposed Sizewell C development – This is an interesting intention as it apparently exists despite both Suffolk residents and administration having reiterated their concerns about having Sizewell C construction delivered by road. Eg on Sept 11 2020, SCC Cabinet member Richard Rout , in rejecting EDF’s plans, said: “We remain very disappointed that the transport strategy presented by EDF Energy relies heavily on road-based haulage for materials. In its current form, we don’t believe it is a sustainable solution with its massive impact on the environment and our communities”. It seems almost as if you are running with the hare and chasing with the hounds?
- support and encourage walking and cycling. This is a great intention and in many ways it will – at least it will in my division. However, it seems the proposal is also likely to encourage rat-runners from the A12, angered by the new lights, through local towns and country roads.
- improve services for bus users . I cannot see how these proposals do anything concrete to improve services for bus users? You need to have a substantive and usable bus policy to improve services for bus users , and this is currently far from the case. How many scheduled buses now travel regularly between the rural areas beyond Woodbridge and Ipswich, as opposed to the number that came five, ten years ago? You cannot improve something by consistently undermining and overlooking it. Longterm proposals based upon a thorough review of everybody’s transport requirements along the A1214 corridor between Ipswich and rural areas beyond Woodbridge need to be included in this consultation.