Plans for the long-awaited Beccles southern relief road have taken another step forward as town councillors pledge to support the scheme, but with a condition.

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The relief road, which aims to remove traffic, particularly heavy goods vehicles from the town centre, is proposed to link the A145 London Road, just south of Beccles, with Ellough Road, to the south east of the town, which together with the B1127 Copland Way will form a southern and eastern bypass of Beccles.

During an extraordinary meeting of Beccles Town Council’s planning committee yesterday, called to discuss Suffolk County Council’s consultation on the scheme, councillors spoke of their concerns about cutting off Cucumber Lane, which is at the centre of the land the road will run through.

Brian Woodruff said: “Obviously we have got to say thank you very much. It’s going ahead with a scheme that I and loads of other people have been fighting for now for 15 years. But quite frankly I think most of us are in agreement that they are going to cause quite a major problem by cutting off Cucumber Lane. That’s the only real objection there is.

“The people who are really going to suffer are the people who live that way.”

The road will be funded by the county council and will link the A146 Norwich to Lowestoft road with the A145 and A12 Ipswich road without passing through Beccles.

It will also carry traffic heading for Ellough Industrial Estate, which currently turns off the A145 onto Church Lane, Weston.

Councillors agreed to send a letter to the county council showing their support but pleading for them to rethink their plans for Cucumber Lane.

Town mayor Caroline Topping added: “In principle we support the southern relief road, there’s no way we don’t want it. It’s just the finer details which I think need to be looked at, which will come back to us at a later date when they are tweaking the plans.”

A consultation on the plans took place in April 2011 and a public exhibition was held at Beccles Library in May.

The scheme is strongly supported by Suffolk County Council leader and councillor for Beccles Mark Bee, along with Waveney MP Peter Aldous, who said it would boost the local economy and aid the development of the Ellough Enterprise Zone.

Caroline Topping and Graham Catchpole, councillors for the Rigbourne Ward in Beccles, will be holding a public meeting in St Luke’s Church after Christmas to give residents a chance to have their final say on the plans. A date and time is yet to be arranged.

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