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Could a relief road protect Needham Market?

Needham Market (Google Earth) (2135663)
Needham Market (Google Earth) (2135663)

A proposal for a Needham Market relief road will soon be put to the public after a Government funded study.

The study is the idea of Needham Market Town Council as an effort to set development boundaries and create infrastructure in the absence of a Mid Suffolk District Plan.

Town clerk Kevin Hunter explained: "As a town council we anticipate considerable growth in housing developments round the town.

"This is the council being proactive. If growth comes without infrastructure, the town is going to be swamped.

"Mid Suffolk is creating a new local plan but, frankly, by the time that is in place, we could be swamped with development proposals â it's us taking the lead as far as Needham Market is concerned."

The town council applied for Government funding so were able to commission masterplanning consultants AECOM to carry out a feasibility study, which is nearing completion.

Mr Hunter said: "The Government funding has given us the opportunity to do something we wouldn't have been able to have done.

"Working with AECOM has been excellent. They're working on neighbourhood plans across the country â many a lot bigger than us."

The idea is to create a new southern town boundary which would include a through road from Barking Road to Stowmarket Road.

As part of a neighbourhood plan, it would serve the purpose of planners being able to say no to developments on the wrong side of the road and would provide routes for traffic from new homes.

Mr Hunter added: "As a relief road the main objective would be to relieve the High Street of more traffic.

"If you've got major developments of 200 or 300 houses and only have the current access it would make the High Street even busier."

Once the study is complete, the town council plan to invite district and county representatives to a presentation on it and put it out to public consultation.

Mr Hunter said: "The next stage is public consultation, and that will happen quickly.

"We've got to get the public to buy into it. The town council wants to act, otherwise we sit on our hands and development proposals will just come in."

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