'It's costing the county a lot of money' - Ben Burgess boss on why the A47 needs to be dualled
PUBLISHED: 12:20 04 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:57 04 July 2018
The boss of one of Norfolk's best-known business names has thrown his weight behind the campaign to dual the A47, highlighting the cost to the county of the poor state of the road.
Ben Turner, managing director of Ben Burgess said the full dualling of the A11 between Barton Mills and Thetford, completed in late 2014, and the opening of the NDR this year, had underlined the work needed on the A47.
“When you have a light bulb on in one room but not in the other, then you notice the difference,” he said.
“The A11 modifications have made it so much easier for us to go south: if we have a meeting in Newmarket we know it will take an hour to get there. That consistency is beneficial for business.
“But on the A47, you have to leave an extra half an hour for hold-ups. It’s costing the county a lot of money, and people don’t like using the road so they will avoid coming to this area.”
Mr Turner said he and his company fully backed the Just Dual It! campaign spearheaded by this newspaper with Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, which has already won widespread support.
Just 47% of the A47 is dual carriageway and, while £300m of improvements are in the pipeline, only eight further miles will be dualled.
Ben Burgess provides machinery and service support in the agricultural, horticultural and construction industry and Mr Turner said his 230 staff across six depots were having to be increasingly flexible by working in different locations, making a quality road network vital to the business.
The £85m-turnover company imports all of the machinery it sells from Europe and the US, with much of it arriving at Hull and then being transported by road to Norwich, before being delivered to customers. It also exports around £12m of equipment annually.
“It’s very important to us to be able to move that equipment to where we can find the best marketplace,” said Mr Turner.
The aim of the Just Dual It! campaign is to put the case for fully dualling the road, at an estimated cost of £1.4bn, at the forefront of government thinking when it comes to major road investment between 2020 and 2025.