MPs told to book their seats for the Autumn Statement as minister shows strong support for A47 upgrade

Traffic queues on the A47 approaching King's Lynn. Picture: Chris Bishop. Traffic queues on the A47 approaching King's Lynn. Picture: Chris Bishop.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014
1:26 PM

MPs have been told to take their seats for an autumn A47 announcement in the clearest signal yet an upgrade to the trunk road could be given the green light later this year.

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MPs have been told to book their place for the autumn statement in the strongest signal yet an upgrade to the 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.”

North-West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said the dualling was “very patchy” making it an inherently dangerous road.

Questioned by Mr Simpson about the timetable of the feasibility study, the transport minister said: “I suggest that he makes sure he gets a place for the autumn statement, to hear what the Chancellor says.”

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.

The A47 Alliance, a coalition of MPs, councils and the New Anglia local enterprise partnership, has produced its “A47 Strategic Route: Gateway to Growth”, which is forming part of the study.

Mr Simpson said: “The study is not just the usual wish list that we frequently get from these kinds of organisations; as far as we can tell, it is a well argued business case and has been recognised as such by the Department for Transport.”

“Over my 17 years as a member of parliament, I have seen many schemes relating to the A47 drop off the list of priorities, either because other schemes have come further up the list or because governments have run out of money. Usually, there has then been a patchwork approach to mending the A47, addressing narrow local problems. Worthy as that is, it is not the solution for the year 2014-15.”

“If, as occasionally happens, there is ever a major accident on the east-west A47 in Norfolk and on the A11, Norfolk literally grinds to a halt. We need to bear that in mind,” he added.

Mr Goodwill said: “The A47 is an important trunk road that connects Norfolk with the midlands, and improving it has been considered by successive Governments. I recognise the strategic importance of the corridor and therefore of finding solutions to its problems.”.

See tomorrow’s EDP for full story

8 comments

  • We have seen it all before! All our area MPs looking for votes at the elections next year. Afterwards nothing!!

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    beverley

    Thursday, May 15, 2014

  • I quite agree with the headline in today's EDP regarding the A47 - TAKE ACTION NOW! We have heard all this political hot air before, as a resident of midNorfolk I am fed up waiting for improvements to the A47. Forgive me for being cynical, yesterdays statements by the Norfolk nine MPs is nothing but electioneering. Within months of the Autumn statement there will be an election so whoever is in power next will decide if any money is available for the A47. Sadly I can't see anything being done to improve the A47 for the foreseeable future.

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    Lord 'Elp-Us

    Thursday, May 15, 2014

  • Coming to live south of Norwich six months ago, I've found it hard to believe how poor the roads are, compared to Oxfordshire. So many updates and bypasses, yet most seem to remain as two-lane blacktops - and so traffic still has to snake behind the slowest vehicle at the front. Frustrating for drivers, and expensive for business.

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    Mr J

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

  • Why are Archantt telling the MPs to book their place. The Autumn Statement takes place at The House's of Parliament. Surely the MPs should be there anyway because it is their place of work and they are paid to be there. Unless they intend to take a Sickie of course.

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    PDH

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

  • I think we all know what the announcement will be - to spend tens of millions on consultants reports to look into the possibility of the feasibility of perhaps making some strategic improvements at a future date still to be determined!

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    Citizen of EUSSR

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

  • Blister, you seem to forget the 80’s of Maggie’s millions (Unemployment), the steel industry and coal Industry and many more. How could labour ever sort out the finances of an already ruined country by the Tories?

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    MickB1

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

  • Let us hope that Labour will not be elected next year, none of us would want a return to high unemployment, cuts , selling off gold reserves and bankruptcy of the country, we must not forget that a Labour minister told his successor when leaving government that they had spent all the money and there was nothing left

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    blister

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

  • What is that supposed to mean? That we might get a minute piece done? It just isn't good enough when lives are being lost and people injured on a regular basis. It just demonstrates the morality of this government when they can spend millions on the Postwick junction and a dead end NDR, which are of no use to anyone other than the developers. SHAME ON THE LOT OF THEM!

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    Vic Sponge

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

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