Southern relief road ‘a worthwhile project’

PLANS for a long-awaited Beccles southern relief road have taken an important step forward with the news that a feasibility study is under way and a public consultation on the scheme is anticipated next spring.

A Suffolk County Council spokes-man confirmed that the feasibility study is examining a couple of route options for the road which supporters say would encourage business and divert heavy goods vehicles out of Beccles town centre.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous described it as “excellent news” and said he would be doing everything he could to support the scheme.

He said: “My view on a southern relief road is that it is a very good, worthwhile, value-for-money project.

“Firstly it would take a lot of heavy traffic out of Beccles itself which I think will do the town centre a lot of good in terms of making it a more friendly place to shop and work.

“Secondly it will lift remaining traffic away from a lot of small, minor rural roads in the Ellough, Henstead and Hulver Street areas.

“The other factor is that I think the whole Ellough Airfield area has very much established itself as a good business location.

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“If the road is put in it will open up more land for industrial development and this will help attract new businesses to the area and provide more land for businesses to expand.”

Waveney District Council leader Mark Bee welcomed the news and said: “The feasibility study is being done – that makes it a viable project for trying to get funding.”

But he added: “Until the Suffolk County Council budget has been set next February we cannot say whether the Beccles southern relief road is in or not.”

He said that he and county and district councillor Chris Punt would continue to push for the scheme whatever the outcome.

“We are pushing for it and Chris Punt and I will continue to lobby to see it is county council funded,” he said.

Mr Bee said plans for the road would see it run from Weston across farmland to the south of Beccles and come out at Ellough industrial estate. It would in theory then link with the A146 to Lowestoft.

SORR, (Save Our Rural Roads), a joint campaign by local parish councils, Beccles town council and the Beccles Society welcomed the news.

Bob Aris said: “It is heartening to see this support help to generate a step forward in the form of the public consultation.

“However, in these times of austerity this welcome announcement is still a long way from commencing a build programme.

“The future prosperity of the entire Beccles area depends upon retaining and attracting business. There is no other way. Ellough industrial estate is a significant player in this activity but must have a modern road system. The relief road will go a long way towards providing it.”