An MP has called for further work on a new walking and cycling project in a Suffolk town to be paused amid concerns the plans are 'anti-motorist'.

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey is urging Suffolk County Council's highways team to rethink plans to block off roads as part of the Active Travel Woodbridge scheme, which aims to make the town's roads safer for people to walk and cycle.

Instead, she said the Government's £5 million funding for the changes would be better spent on improving road crossings, pavements and road surfaces.

READ MORE: Woodbridge society's concerns about Active Travel scheme

The proposals include the creation of a 20mph zone in the south of the town and the town centre, while physical restrictions such as bollards could be used to close sections of roads in Bilney Road, Bullard's Lane, California and near the railway bridge on Sandy Lane.

"The government is finding areas to promote walking and cycling, but this should not be done by blocking off roads for driving and increasing congestion - which is bad for air quality.

"I share the concerns of many of my constituents on the measures proposed as they are somewhat detached from the reality of life in a rural market town.

READ MORE: Fears raised about Active Travel Woodbridge scheme

"My overall message is that Active Travel should support those who want to walk and cycle more but should not be anti-driver.
“The proposals to block cars simply do not work for most people living and working in Woodbridge and the suggested measures will just add pressure and congestion to the Dobbies roundabout on the A12,” Dr Coffey said.

Last week, the EADT revealed how a civic society in the town was also concerned about the scheme, saying it would increase pollution and cause 'substantial inconvenience' for residents.

The Woodbridge and Melton Society said the 'dynamics of an historic market town' had not been understood and that blocking off Bilney Road and Bullard's Lane would push traffic to use longer routes to access the A12 and town centre.

READ MORE: Suffolk County Council Woodbridge consultation running out

Meanwhile, changes to Burkitt Road would restrict parking for residents and workers at Woodbridge Lodge care home.

Concerns were also raised about the proposed closure of Hasketon Road at the junction with the A12, which the society believed would add traffic to the congested Grundisburgh Road roundabout and affect access to the town's Farlingaye High School.

The society's chair Garth Pollard said: "The funding available could benefit Woodbridge enormously if the focus was on the town centre and not on its fringe."

However, a county council spokesperson said: “We welcome all comments to help refine the Active Travel Woodbridge proposals, which were informed by an extensive survey of traffic flows as well as engagement with residents, businesses and other local stakeholders.

READ MORE: Public consultation launched into Active Travel Woodbridge

"There have been many opportunities via a range of channels to give feedback, ask questions and raise concerns.

“As explained in the consultation, further work is needed on the proposals for the town centre to understand competing priorities and this will be subject to engagement with key stakeholders and consultation later in the year.

“The A12 is part of the Major Road Network, which is a separate scheme; however, the teams have remained in conversation throughout the development of the proposals to ensure they complement one another.

"For example, capacity upgrades on the A12 would be expected to reduce the propensity of drivers to use local roads to avoid congestion on the A12.

READ MORE: 'Mini-Holland' plans for Woodbridge criticised online

“Finally, the funding secured from Active Travel England is ringfenced for capital improvements and cannot be used for maintenance, although some maintenance issues will be addressed where they are within the scope of the scheme, such as widened footpaths would be resurfaced.

“The number of responses received to the consultation was higher than expected. Analysis of the feedback is now underway and amendments to the proposals will be made as appropriate.”

A series of public engagement events have taken place about the plans, with the consultation period ending on April 9.

READ MORE: Woodbridge news