New £7m relief road finally opens - with potential to create 3,000 jobs
- Credit: Nick Butcher
After decades of campaigning a new £7m road designed to relieve congestion and boost the Suffolk economy has finally opened.
Beccles Southern Road was officially opened earlier today by the vice lord lieutenant of Suffolk Robert Rous.
The 1.2 mile road will join the A145 London Road to Ellough Road reducing the number of HGV’s travelling through the centre of Beccles.
And it has the potential to create 3,000 new jobs in the local area.
Mark Bee, leader of Waveney District Council, said: “It’s a great step forward and it’s something people have been talking about, campaigning about, for 20 years – it’s great to see it finally come to fruition.
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“This road will help ensure the economic development and wellbeing of this area in the future.”
He added: “I’m absolutely delighted, when I was first on the town council in the early 90s it was being talked about and it felt like a distant dream.
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“It is a medieval town with very narrow streets, built for horses and carts not lorries and cars and certainly not lots of cars.
“By doing what we are doing here we can ease some of those problems and improve that environment.
“It’s going to have an impact on easing congestion in the town centre.”
Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways, transport and rural affairs, Mary Evans, spoke of the economic benefits the road will bring to the county.
She said: “The estimate is this road will generate around 3,000 more jobs at the Ellough Industrial Estate – which is incredible.
“One of the clever things we have done with the road is build in the walking and the cycling routes and the horse crossing points – it’s going to be a real benefit to local residents but also to the tourist trade and the wider economy.”
The reduction of traffic through the town centre is also a key benefit for Beccles deputy mayor Richard Stubbings.
He added: “The town wasn’t built for these big mega-lorries. I suppose it is a problem for all market towns where they have huge lorries going through it.
“It’s so nice to have an alternative – it’s a win-win situation, it’s better for the lorries and it’s better for us.”
Praise for project
New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) provided £5m for the road with the remaining £2m provided by Suffolk County Council.
And LEP chairman Doug Field highlighted the positive impact the relief road will have for Beccles.
He said: “Building the relief road will be a significant boost to the local economy, speed up journeys and reduce traffic through Beccles.
“Improving road links and infrastructure in this area will also help draw in new businesses to Suffolk.”
Waveney MP Peter Aldous also spoke of the widespread benefits of the road and said: “It is fantastic that we are now able to open this vital relief road, to help relieve congestion of traffic in Beccles town centre and help promote economic growth in Waveney.
“This has been a long time coming and many people have been involved in progressing the need for this new road. I would like to thank all of them for helping make what once was a dream now a reality.”