Councillor Martin Cook Gainsborough ward, Ipswich Borough Council
It’s been an incredible week for our campaign to remove the traffic chicane on Maryon Road, which has been gathering pace since I wrote to newly elected County Councillor Liz Harsant to ask for her support on 15 May (see bottom).
The Ipswich Star covered the story on Monday (here) after one of their reporters belatedly picked up on the news of my letter over the weekend. Before the day was out Ipswich MP Tom Hunt was using his Facebook page to accuse me of making a “bizarre media intervention”, for which read “standing up for my constituents” and for not acting sooner on the chicane.
Mr Hunt seemed faintly disappointed when later in the week his freedom of information request to Suffolk County Council confirmed that I had indeed been lobbying on the matter since 2019!
With the facts clearly established I thought that would be an end to the matter, but no. On Friday Mr Hunt dedicated the whole of his weekly column in the Ipswich Star to another personal attack in which I was repeatedly blasted for having the audacity to raise the issue of the chicane on behalf of residents.
I will never apologise for trying to get this change. It has been a longstanding bugbear of people living in the area as it causes unnecessary congestion. The problem has been getting the highways authority, Conservative-controlled Suffolk County Council, to do anything about it.
The good news for those struggling through the chicane every day is that our campaign has ensured that Mr Hunt and Cllr Harsant are now under no illusion that with a passion local people want to see it gone.
Given their commitment on Monday to do what local people want and then an acknowledgement on Friday that residents “clearly want” the chicane removed, our campaign now has unstoppable momentum.
Given Mr Hunt and Cllr Harsant’s colleagues have their hands on the levers of power at Suffolk Council Council it can only be a matter of time before the chicane is taken out. It’s just a shame that they appear so uncomfortable responding to an issue raised by us and incapable of working together on what should be a shared agenda.
My letter to Cllr Harsant is reproduced below. Does it try to score any political points? You be the judge.