Ipswich Northern Route will not proceed to the next stage

On 25 February, the Cabinet of Suffolk County Council voted to accept a recommendation that the Ipswich Northern Route should not proceed to the next stage of development.

The Cabinet recommendation noted that the project had failed to attract the widespread political support needed to proceed with projects of this size and financial scale. The Cabinet paper also made it clear that local planning authorities were unable to agree to any of the additional housing growth, over the level already agreed in their local plans, which would be needed to help fund the local contribution before government funding could be requested.

Councillor Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said: "I am disappointed that even with a good Strategic Outline Business Case, we have been unable to proceed with this ambitious project for Ipswich. However, ambition must always be tempered with reality. Without widespread political support, this project will not attract the funding needed to proceed to the next stage, let alone the £500m necessary to complete it. 

"Housing growth is now a larger consideration for central government when considering funding requests for large road projects. Without clear support from local planning authorities to meet that additional growth, over and above what they have already agreed to within their local plans, being successful in bidding into central government becomes impossible."

The Cabinet also agreed to the recommendation to create a task force to build on existing work to increase modal shift within Ipswich (reducing trips by car and increasing use of buses, walking and cycling) and to improve capacity at key junctions. More information about this will be provided in the coming weeks.

Councillor Hicks continued: "I hope that today's decision to not proceed with the Ipswich Northern Route will help those who felt directly impacted by any of the three proposed routes to find some closure and move on. But we must all recognise that the issues the INR was looking to solve still exist and we will need to look at other ways to try and solve them. The new task force will play a large part in helping us do that."