Norfolk County Council has hailed what it said could be a “huge step forward” in the fight to get a major upgrade for the A47.

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A47 improvement schemesA47 improvement schemes

The Eastern Daily Press reported yesterday that transport minister Stephen Hammond had said the government would in 2013 seriously consider the case to fund improvements on the road.

He had just met campaigners who were trying to persuade him that over 20 years, undertaking a ‘shopping list’ of 14 improvements would generate 10,000 jobs, secure a £390m annual economic boost and attract up to £800m of private investment.

But to their surprise Mr Hammond raised the prospect that he would, in 2013, name the project as one that might be funded under a government road improvement scheme sometime soon after 2015.

Graham Plant, county council cabinet member for transport, said: “We have been greatly heartened by our meeting with Stephen Hammond.

“He clearly recognises the A47 as a route of strategic importance.”

The government is funding three “route-based strategies” in the current financial year to upgrade roads across the country: the A1 in Newcastle, the M62 from Leeds to Manchester and the A12 near Harwich.

The three strategies will then inform funding decisions to be made in the next government spending review period from 2015. Mr Hammond told the EDP he was convinced the A47 could be the 4th or 5th route-based strategy the government funded.

Mr Plant said: “The minister says there is a strong case for the A47 to be the focus of one of the national Route Based Strategies next year.

“This would be a huge step forward and would have the full support of all those who want to see improvements on the A47. We will do everything we can to secure the A47’s place in the Route Based Strategy process.”

It was last month that MPs, Norfolk County Council, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and other campaigners formed the A47 Alliance and launched a united drive, with the backing of the EDP, to convince the government of the overwhelming business case for the upgrade.

The 14 improvements outlined included dualling the Acle Straight, creating a third river crossing at Great Yarmouth, and building an East Winch/Middleton bypass in West Norfolk.

Andy Wood, chairman of New Anglia Enterprise Partnership, said: “The level of impact investment should not be underestimated.

“It will be a catalyst for business growth and jobs in key sectors including energy, life sciences, engineering and tourism and will boost the economy across the region.

“The aim is to drive this forward in the new year to ensure we secure the investment needed to make it happen.”

Meanwhile Norwich South MP Simon Wright added: “Improving the A47 would deliver economic growth and jobs to Norwich.

“It’s an important route, but one which is poor quality in parts. I was pleased to hear the minister recognise that in his comments. There is strong cross-party political support for the A47 Alliance proposals.”

Mr Hammond said that he had been particularly impressed with the way campaigners had worked together to create a business case.

Among others present at the meeting were Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis, Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham, Broadland MP Keith Simpson and Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman.

joseph.watts@archant.co.uk

8 comments

  • Even more ifs, buts and maybes. Believe it when you see it. Cycling, park and ride and car parking are other issues.

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    micklynn

    Thursday, December 20, 2012

  • So where is the packet of money and development plans for those who cycle to work regularly in Norfolk? what improvements can they look forward to. What of better access to Park and ride buses along their routes? will they be picking up fare paying passengers soon on their way into the City? How about unfair, free car parking at supermarkets versus the inner City charges to customers?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, December 20, 2012

  • I agree, why put on an image which serves no purpose other than to use space. Please get your web act together. We would like to make sense of this map!

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    Responsible parent

    Thursday, December 20, 2012

  • Should have mentioned the following webpages with a readable view on what the government is doing to advance road pricing. http:www.fairdealforthemotorist.org.uknotolls2.htm If you're pushed for time, just look at: http:www.fairdealforthemotorist.org.ukrpsumm.htm

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    Brian Mooney

    Saturday, December 22, 2012

  • 1) We might get a roundabout at the crossroads at the western end of Honingham. 2) The Blofield Burlingham plans were at an advanced stage and the dualling work there ready to be started but nothing happened. 3) Not much planned between Swaffham and Dereham. 4) Last but not least the rush hour queues at Honingham and likely "solutions".

    Report this comment

    Capri

    Thursday, December 20, 2012

  • Drivers pay about 5 times more in motoring taxes than is spent on the roads. In fact investment in East Anglia's roads has been paid for several times in advance. But there may be a sinister payback. ‘Route based strategies’ is a euphemism for local and national government to ‘build a consensus’ on tolling routes that are currently free - according to the 2011 'Cook Report' (p66, p75). There is a danger of tolling not just 'new capacity', but also routes that have been 'improved' according to today's Daily Telegraph. By pure coincidence the EU wants tolling for all vehicles on all routes and has just finished its consultation. (Nothing to do with paying for its uneconomic Galileo satellite, of course? ) As New Anglia LEP has already been tempted to look at EU funding which always has strings attached, it needs to ensure that it does not become the monkey's paw of Brussels. Otherwise upgraded roads might get very expensive to use for those that can still afford to drive.

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    Brian Mooney

    Saturday, December 22, 2012

  • Good to see the EDP has listed those MPs that took part in this critically important meeting. The ones that couldn't be bothered to take part, like Richard Bacon, ought to be ashamed of themselves and their lack of commitment to the development of their constituencies' economies.

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    john smith

    Thursday, December 20, 2012

  • How about making the map big enough to actually read?

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    littlesharpie

    Thursday, December 20, 2012

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