On Wednesday April 18 2018 at 7.30pm the 58th Annual General Meeting of The Ipswich Society was held in the 2nd floor lecture hall in the University of Suffolk Waterfront Building in the presence of our President, the Mayor of Ipswich, Councillor Sarah Barber.
Over 150 members turned out for the evening. After the AGM Suzanne Buck, Team Leader and Highways Engineer at Suffolk County Council, spoke to members on the proposed Upper Orwell Crossings. Our speaker gave us a summary of progress so far and a question-and-answer session followed. Questions came thick and fast.
Although not intended as an alternative to the Orwell Bridge when it is closed, but an alternative for local traffic under normal conditions – particularly intended to help free up Star Lane – some were concerned that the Landseer Road and Cliff Lane areas would become gridlocked when the main Orwell Bridge is closed. Suzanne pointed out that this already happens; people are already using all the rat-runs they know when the Orwell Bridge is closed.
Members were concerned that with the new bridge these roads would become much busier under normal conditions and are not currently suitable as major through routes. Suzanne agreed that, as traffic increases over the years, all roads are going to get busier. Many of the people who will use the new bridge are going to these areas anyway and will use the bridge instead of Star Lane. People entering town from Bourne Hill and wanting Felixstowe Road are more likely to use Duke Street and probably Pownall Road via the new bridge, rather than the Star Lane route. The concerns continued.
There was also worry that a fixed bridge over the New Cut (from Felaw Street) would make it inaccessible to craft in the future, should St. Peter's Dock be restored as part of the Waterfront development and perhaps become a berthing area for historic and heritage vessels etc. for public display. Suzanne said that an opening bridge was not currently planned here.
We are going to hear much more of this as it progresses when everyone will have a chance to air their views. The evening ended with canapés and wine when members were able to socialise. [See the Snippets page for a photograph.]