Heroine of the A47 calls for more action to be taken at busy junction near North Burlingham

Nearby resident Valerie Knights. Nearby resident Valerie Knights.

Thursday, May 15, 2014
10:53 AM

A Burlingham resident, whose front door is just metres away from a busy section of the A47, is calling for drastic action to be taken after revealing she has assisted with “well over” a hundred accidents during her time living there.

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Valerie Knights's house beside the A47 at Burlingham. Photo: Bill SmithValerie Knights's house beside the A47 at Burlingham. Photo: Bill Smith

Valerie Knights, a retired farmer’s wife, is a nearby resident at the North Burlingham A47 junction with the B1140 to Beighton and said she had lost count of the number of accidents and near misses which had happened at the site.

She has lived in the area since the 1940s and over the years has made sure she was well-stocked up with supplies such as blankets, pillows and first-aid equipment.

And although the heroine’s actions have not been called upon lately, she urged the government to take action now.

She said: “Ambulances turn up quicker to accidents now, compared to ten years ago. Because of this my help is not needed so much now and it would be dangerous for me to go out onto the road.

The Debate

East Anglian MPs have been told to book their place for the autumn statement in the strongest signal yet that an upgrade to the A47 trunk road could be given the green light later this year.

Roads minister Robert Goodwill said yesterday he recognised the economic case to improve the road, saying the government was committed to identifying and funding a solution to its long-standing problems.

He made the comments during a 90-minute debate in Westminster where Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire MPs spelt out why money needed to be spent on dualling the road.

While Mr Goodwill confirmed that there would be “some degree of success” for all six shortlisted projects, he was not clear how extensive the improvements would be.

Broadland MP Keith Simpson told the Westminster Hall debate that the lack of capacity “has had a real drag on current business opportunities, with delays and missed opportunities, especially for new investment in the area”.

“Without a commitment to investment in the A47, other government priorities for our part of East Anglia will not be met,” he added.

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon said: “I hope that the minister has heard enough to convince him that Norfolk is not a sleepy backwater, but a major centre of world-class innovation in a variety of different disciplines relating to agriculture, science and engineering.”

The A47 corridor was added to a list of five feasibility studies identified in last year’s budget last summer. It also includes the A12 between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

“I have easily assisted with well over a hundred accidents on that road. I’m amazed that there are not more accidents there. There are near misses everyday and I often hear hooting and screeching outside my house.”

Mrs Knights said she was woken up at 4.30am recently by the sound of another near miss, despite the road being quieter during that time.

“Sometimes people get out of their cars to argue with each other too and I have even seen cars going up the road the wrong way.”

Click here to find out more about the recent MP campaign for investment in the A47.

She blamed a lot of the problems on heavy lorry traffic, especially during the months between September and March. And although she said the reduction in speed to 50mph had improved things she believed the answer was to create a large roundabout to join the junction with the South Walsham Road junction.

“At the moment there is not enough room for lorries to wait in the middle of the road to turn to Yarmouth. A roundabout would make it more clear whose right of way it was.”

Mrs Knights also said she would rather travel along the back roads, adding miles to her journey, to get to Acle safely - a decision echoed by other A47 road users.

She said: “Living where I do you get to see the most extraordinary things.”

• Have you been affected by problems on the A47 and does action need to be taken there now? Write to the Letter’s Editor, with full details of name and address, at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email edpletters@archant.co.uk.

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