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Ipswich Northern Route: Strategic Outline Business Case published as district and borough councils are consulted on next steps.

The Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) for the creation of an Ipswich Northern Route (INR) was published today (28 January 2020) at 10:00am on the INR website, completing the first phase of the project which has been funded by Suffolk’s Public Sector Leaders.

Transport consultants WSP completed the SOBC in January 2020 and the full report has now been presented to Suffolk’s Public Sector Leaders so that they can consider it and form their views on whether they can support the project moving forward.

Suffolk County Council, as the highways authority for Suffolk, has set out a range of issues that it requires clarification on, before being able to consider submitting the case for an Ipswich Northern Route for phase 2 of the Department for Transport process. These issues are:

  • The way Government allocates funding for road projects has evolved since 2016 and there is now a need to provide not only a compelling business case for the road itself, but also to show how the road will enable or support additional housing growth. Clearly this need for additional housing falls under the remit of district and borough councils. Therefore, in order to decide whether this project should proceed further, SCC as the transport authority for Suffolk will need clarity on the willingness and ability of district and borough councils to deliver such growth, beyond that already committed to in their respective local plans.

  • The need for widespread political support, both at a national and local level, to proceed to the next stage, factoring in the levels of public support and any local changes to the political landscape as a result of the May 2019 and December 2019 elections.

  • A petition received from the STOP! campaign, which is against the project is scheduled to be responded to by a meeting of Suffolk County Council on the 13 February 2020.

  • Serious consideration of the climate emergency declared in 2019.

  • Acceptance that the scheme has no realistic chance of succeeding in gaining government funding as a “road only scheme”.

Speaking on the completion of phase 1 of the project, Suffolk County Council Leader, Cllr Matthew Hicks, said:

“I am pleased that Suffolk County Council has delivered on its commitment to complete phase 1 of the Ipswich Northern Route project.

“This phase of the process was commissioned and funded by Suffolk Public Sector Leaders, so it is entirely right that the SOBC be returned to them so that together, we can consider the findings, and decide whether this project should proceed to phase 2.

“Whilst Suffolk County Council, as the transport authority, has the responsibility for submission of any transport scheme to the Department for Transport, we have throughout this project emphasised the need for a Suffolk wide collaborative approach if this project is to enjoy any realistic chance of success.

“I look forward to receiving the views of my fellow leaders in due course.”

Suffolk County Council will make its decision on whether it can support moving to phase 2 after receiving the views of all other partners. A report will be submitted to a meeting of the council’s Cabinet on 25 February 2020.