Beccles link road boost

TRANSPORT in Beccles received another boost yesterday with the news that money had been allocated for design work on the town's long-awaited southern link road.

TRANSPORT in Beccles received another boost yesterday with the news that money had been allocated for design work on the town's long-awaited southern link road.

Hard on the heels of the news that Network Rail is drawing up design proposals for a rail loop at Beccles station to improve train services, the county announced that �150,000 was being made available in 2009-10 for design work on the route.

From that the county will develop an implementation programme. In addition the cycle route between Beccles town centre and Worlingham will be improved.

The work on the Beccles link road is to identify the best and most economical route, and to estimate whether we can afford to build this as a local scheme. The county will be consulting local bodies and the public on preferred routes next year.

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Beccles Councillor Brian Woodruff, who chairs a working party which is pushing to make the relief road a reality, said that he was “over the moon” to hear of the news. However he also stressed that there is still a long way to go, as an extra “�3 to �4million” in funding would be needed for the actual building of the road.

“It will still be a long and hard fight to get the funding but it does hearten me somewhat,” said Mr Woodruff, who will be meeting with the county council next week to discuss the project further. “There's been an awful lot of hard work going on behind the scenes towards persuading them and it's going to take an awful long time for the road to go in.

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“The road is needed to help all these super firms that decided to go up at Ellough, who do need better access, and the people of Beccles have been putting up with more and more of these HGVs coming through the town to get to these sites.

“It's a relatively cheap project but once it's in there will be a marked difference in Beccles, Worlingham and the villages.”

David Smith, Mayor of Beccles, added: “It's all good news. We need some nowadays! The southern link road we think is a necessity now but it's always been a question of cost. These things don't happen over night but at least we're going in the right direction.”

Guy McGregor, Suffolk's portfolio holder for highways and public transport, said the project was part of almost �3.6 million of investment in the county on schemes to tackle congestion, improve accessibility and help reduce the impact of traffic in our communities.

“Our schemes will make a significant difference to those communities most affected by heavy traffic and future development pressures.”

He said as far as the Beccles loop was concerned “I am determined that the whole of the situation around the railway station at Beccles will be tackled.”

It is a �5 million scheme which will mean hourly train services will be able to run in both directions and Network Rail is in discussions with the county and other stakeholders about funding for it.

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