Upper Orwell Crossings
In the second instalment focusing on Ipswich’s Upper Orwell Crossings, we take a look at how the team leading the project has been engaging with the public to help shape the proposals…
This year’s first public information event took place in March at Dance East of Ipswich’s Waterfront, following the announcement of Suffolk County Council’s preferred alignment for the three crossings and held whilst the Ground Investigations were underway.
The event was very well attended, with nearly 400 people making their way to the venue to speak to the team, ask questions of the project, give feedback on the proposals to date, detail their concerns and give their views on the preferred alignments.
The team had presented at a number of events and evening meetings, however, this was the first public drop-in event for some time, and the volume of attendees showed there remained a high level of public interest in the project.
In May, following the Ipswich Borough Council elections, the team held a second event, in Cliff Lane where 170 residents, mainly from Cliff Lane and the nearby Rivers Estate, visited the Scout Hut to speak to the team and discuss the project, in particular concerns about potential impact on the area.
During this meeting discussions covered areas such as the location of the landing on the east of the River Orwell, the junction of Holywells Rd with Cliff Land, future increases in traffic due to the project and what the proposals mean for them as residents.
The team were happy to share information and insight from previous events and meetings with groups and organisations and discuss mitigation ideas. Less than a week later, the team met with people on the western side of the crossing at St Mary at Stoke Church Hall on Stoke Street, meeting with around 40 people.
The team was also present with colleagues from the Lake Lothing Third Crossing project at the Suffolk Show with a stand in the Suffolk County Council tent. It was a great opportunity to speak with people about the project from a wider area of the county with a high level of support shown for the project. The chalk core from the ground investigations was on display at the show and of interest to the public, especially children; more than 71 million years old from the cretaceous period, when dinosaurs roamed, the sample was extracted from 80 metres below the river bed as part of the ground investigations undertaken earlier this year.
But it’s not just been the public who have been assisting the project team with their feedback though – the team have held focus group meetings with residents from the nearby areas, as well as those who use the river on a regular basis, to ensure it’s not just road users’ needs that are met. We’ve also met with bus companies, cycling groups, and schools.
Businesses have also been having their say as well, with the team presenting at business meetings – presenting the latest updates, explaining the proposal process and answering questions on how they can benefit from the project.
These events have been helpful for the team, as it has enabled the team to speak to a broad range of people that will be affected by the proposals (both positively and negatively), find out their thoughts, and also hear first-hand how the proposals could be improved.
As the project continues to move forward, individuals and organisations will be able to formally respond to the options put forward in the public consultation, which is scheduled to take place during the Autumn of this year.
Information of consultation events will be advertised in advance and we look forward to seeing you at these events as well as hearing from you in the Autumn.
For more information on the project, please visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/upperorwellcrossings or email firstname.lastname@example.org