Matthew Hancock has pledged to listen to constituents’ concerns and examine alternative by-pass plans for Brandon following a public meeting earlier this month.
He siad: “On the campaign trail in Brandon, back in 2010, one issue came up on the doorstep more than any other: the traffic problems which cause so much difficultly for the town. Ever since I became an MP I have been fighting for a solution.
“Just as we worked together as a town to secure the school, I’m determined to stick up for Brandon and solve this blight.
“Last year, we pushed Network Rail hard to fix the faulty rail crossing. We’ve got to keep their feet to the fire, and it’s why I think the town needs a bypass.
“Earlier this month Elizabeth Truss and I called a public meeting to discuss proposals for a bypass to the West of the town, alongside wider development, including infrastructure and housing. The meeting was a very good opportunity for us, as local representatives, to hear directly what the people of Brandon and Weeting thought about those plans. “Engaging the local community is very important, and the level of interest in the plans was clear just from the number of people who attended. The Leisure Centre was packed.
“The meeting ran for a long time and it was great that so many people had the chance to speak. The overwhelming feeling from people attending the meeting was agreement on the need for a bypass, but concern about many specific parts of the plans being looked at. As well as doubts about the proposals, two other options for relieving the traffic were put forward and it is important these options are taken seriously.
“We are now going to do that, and work with Forest Heath and Suffolk County Council on the alternatives, taking on board the concerns raised at the meeting. This will also let us see what the completion of dualling works on the A11 has an impact on traffic in Brandon. The new A11 will open this year - it’s on time and under budget.
“The most important part of my job as MP for West Suffolk is to represent my constituents’ views and the view from this meeting was clear. There is a need for a bypass, but Brandon residents are long-term in their thinking and would prefer to wait for the right rather scheme than push ahead with the first plan on offer regardless.
“Sitting on the edge of Thetford Forest, under the enormity of East Anglian skies, Brandon has a unique character and real potential as a flourishing market town. It has been held back by traffic problems in the past but I know if we can address this issue - and deliver the infrastructure we need - the town will thrive. For this to happen, residents deserve the best scheme possible and that is exactly what I will be pushing for in the future.”