December 13 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Fears over the future of Brandon high street have been raised after it was revealed it will become a cul-de-sac if a relief road is built.
Network Rail has confirmed that its backing for a relief road - which will redirect traffic heading north through Brandon away from the high street - is dependent on the town’s level crossing shutting.
The rail operator is believed to have pledged between £6m and £7m to the scheme so that a bridge can be built over the Norwich to Cambridge line.
But a spokeswoman confirmed last week that the level crossing would also close if the plans went ahead.
“Network Rail has agreed in principle to fund a bridge across the railway in Brandon once the necessary approvals are granted for the proposed by-pass, and providing that the current level crossing is subsequently closed also,” she said.
Yesterday a number of businesses expressed their frustration with the plans.
Mark Skinner, who owns Bunches and Bows florists, said he would be opposed to the scheme until more detail was presented.
“It could mean that people come in and find it easy to park but the danger is that traffic would then go down London Road and snarl that up.
“If the whole of London Road is jammed up then people won’t be coming in anyway.”
One owner, who did not wish to be named, said the scheme would “kill” his business.
“We are not going to get the passing trade we do now. My window is incredibly valuable, people stop here, look in and they are interested. It’s everything to us,” he said.
Others said the relief road was misguided as traffic was caused by the traffic lights at the bottom of the High Street, rather than the level crossing.
The scheme, which is being led by a consortium of local developers, has been backed by Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, who is also the Government’s Small Business Champion.
It was Mr Hancock - alongside Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk - who organised the public meeting where Network Rail pledged support to the scheme in June.
Mr Hancock said: ““We are looking at all the options for addressing Brandon’s problems with traffic, but there is no doubt that there is very wide support for a relief road in the town.”
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