Ruffley Calls in Top Official From Highways Agency to House Of Commons for Urgent Meeting On Haughley Bends

Tuesday, 4 February, 2003

David Ruffley has called Simon Amor, Project Manager for the Highways Agency A14 Haughley New Street to Stowmarket Improvements, to an urgent meeting at the House of Commons on Thursday, 6 February to discuss their plans for the A14 Haughley to Stowmarket section of the road. This follows David's strongly worded letter to the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency on 28 January- text below.

David said: 'I am extremely annoyed that the Highways Agency told me a year ago that the option of a flyover near to the west of Stowmarket town rather than at Haughley itself would be laid before my constituents. It is quite outrageous that this option has been dropped. Haughley Parish Council, constituents in Stowmarket and myself want the Stowmarket option reinstated without delay. That is what I will be calling for at the meeting I have convened in my office in the House of Commons.'

Text of letter to Mr Tim Matthews, Chief Executive of Highways Agency, 3 February 2003

A14 Haughley New Street to Stowmarket Road Improvement- Public consultation

I am writing to you to express my grave concern at the manner in which the preferred options on this project are to be taken to public consultation. My grave concerns are shared by Suffolk County Council, Mid Suffolk District Council and Haughley Parish Council.

As you know, since I became the local Member of Parliament in 1997, I have had numerous discussions with many of your officials. I had believed that progress had been made by your Agency but that has now been thrown into doubt by the exclusion in your options of the provision of a junction near to Stowmarket.

It has been made clear many times that the existing residents on the western edge of the town of Stowmarket have poor links to the trunk road for traffic travelling east towards Ipswich (and vice versa). This causes congestion in the town centre as those residents are forced to go through the centre of Stowmarket. It can also lead to dangerous turning movements on the A14 for those residents. I share the County Council's serious concern that the options you have put forward do not in any way adequately acknowledge the problems that Stowmarket is currently experiencing. The options will cause local and longer distance trunk road traffic using the A14 between Stowmarket and the new junction between Quarries Cross and Fishponds Way, so increasing overall journey time.

I would like an urgent meeting with your senior officials at my offices in the House of Commons about this pressing issue that is causing a great deal of local concern. I should also be grateful to receive your confirmation that any public exhibitions on your proposals are put on hold until I have been able to fully explore my concerns with your officials- which is something the County and District Councils wish to do at a separate meeting I believe they are organising.

I look forward to a rapid response.

Yours sincerely,

David Ruffley MP