Ambulances are being held up yards from their own depot, affecting response times, according to paramedics.

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Calls to improve the Longwater interchange on the A47, which ambulances leaving their depot in Costessey must pass through, have been backed by Norfolk County Council, Costessey Parish Council and the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST).

But an upgrade is expected to cost £30m.

Paramedics who use the depot on Alex Moorhouse Way described the struggles they can face when responding to 999 calls.

One said: “It is the wrong place for a depot. In the winter it is a nightmare.

“They get the gritters out, but you are in a seven-tonne ambulance that is front wheel drive.” Another, who did not wish to be named, said the junction was difficult to get out of at rush hour.

He said: “We don’t think about it every day, but between 3pm and 6pm, and sometimes in the morning, you are stuffed.”

A spokesman for the EEAST said they wanted to see the interchange upgraded, but had no plans to move the ambulance base. Some improvements are being made at the Longwater roundabouts including changes to road markings to encourage vehicles to follow a better path. But Norfolk County Council estimated that a full upgrade would cost £30m. A spokesman said: “We will continue to look for ways of reducing the problems at the existing junction, but major reconstruction is the only long-term solution, and this would cost around £30m.”

It is hoped that improvements will ultimately be funded through cash contributions made by developers building in the area. County councillor for Costessey Tim East said: “It is not ideally situated because the entire estate and the retail park only have one exit. As a result, ambulances inevitably get caught up.”

Do you have a story about Costessey for the Evening News? Contact Tom Bristow on 01603 772313, or email tom.bristow@archant.co.uk

4 comments

  • The genius that decided to site the ambulance station where there is only one way in and out has probably been given a knighthood. No doubt heshe has got letters after their name although not the same ones that I can think of.

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    mclaf

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

  • Well that does not come as any surprise to me. The more they allow development on this site the worse it will become. The Roundwater roundabout junction was never fit for the purpose for what it was ultimately designed for, it was always intended to develop this site in a big way. One serious RTA on this roundabout,with maybe a tanker fire or spillage would bring the whole site, including ambulances to a standstill. There at least should be an alternative emergency quick exit for ambulances at least, at all times. Why cannot those responsible ever see this, they can never see anything beyond the end of their noses. We had a similar thing with the NNUH, build it and then find that the road access to it is nowhere near good enough. This county is very eager to develop sites for housing and Then only realise that after these houses are built existing roads, schools, hospitals and other services cannot cope.

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    mike smith

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

  • I am getting sick and tired of the excuses the East of England Ambulance are using for delays etc, every day they are in the news in way or another, and I am in a situation where they failed terribly to even turn up for an emergency call. only yesterday I witnessed first hand where bad driving on the part of a emergency resonse 4x4 came through a set of red traffic lights on the wrong side of the road and turned into oncoming traffic and how an RTA never occurred I am surprised. I have no time for the Ambulance service whatsoever.and will make my own way to hospital if need be !!! USELESS !

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    Footyboy16

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

  • Oh dear Footyboy. You seem to be fine now, so it can't have been much of an emergency. Did a RTA (it is called RTC now) happen ?

    Report this comment

    Rolf

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

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