“The time is now to push for investment”: A14 Growth Corridor lobbying group launched
Suffolk Chamber of Commerce’s ongoing efforts to secure much-needed investment along the A14 from the Port of Felixstowe to the Cambridgeshire border has received a boost with the confirmation that Jo Churchill, the MP for Bury St Edmunds, is to lead its relaunched business lobbying efforts.
The A14 Growth Corridor campaign group was approved at a recent meeting of Suffolk Chamber’s influential Transport & Infrastructure Group.
Chaired by Steve Britt, local businesses and other stakeholders heard from representatives from Transport East, Suffolk County Council, National Highways and Network Rail, as well as its own team leading on 5G infrastructure, about the need to explain the national significance of the routeway to Government, whilst being able to maximise short-term investment opportunities.
Steve said: “Working with our members, the wider business community and the county’s MPs, Suffolk Chamber led the charge to defeat plans to turn the A14 in Suffolk into a toll road. We then successfully lobbied to have the whole route designated as an expressway, with the Copdock Interchange being included in initial upgrade investigations.
“But it is clear that we now need another unified campaign to make Suffolk’s case for not only investment in the road itself, but to attract funding to boost the associated rail and mobile systems along its length.
“Having Jo on board means we will have an improved Parliamentary profile for the A14 Growth Corridor, plus the expertise of the business members of the campaign group.”
Jo Churchill added: “Improvements to the Suffolk section of the A14 itself and the wider infrastructure along its length is something I’ve been campaigning on since first elected in 2015. I know how important the corridor is to so many of the businesses in my constituency and how frustrating delays can be. I am pleased to be working with an even wider group of private sector organisations keen to convince Government of the need for sustained investment across the board for Suffolk.”
The immediate campaign objectives of the A14 Growth Corridor campaign group are to:
- persuade the Department for Transport to back the business voice and support the more ambitious option to improve Copdock Interchange
- land funding to upgrade Haughley Junction as the first-step in investing in the wider Ely area network programme
- ensure the county’s political leadership and planning system are ready for the corridor to be national leader in 5G infrastructure
Paul Simon, Suffolk Chamber’s head of public affairs explained: “This campaign group will help further focus the intensive lobbying that has been going on at a Parliamentary level to secure support for investment in Haughley Junction.
“In terms of getting Suffolk 5G ready, Suffolk Chamber has invited senior council chiefs and councillors to meet with the four main operators and their trade body to a summit in June.
“Quite simply, the time is now for all parties to push for investment in the A14 Growth Corridor!”