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'The A47 has been a death trap for too long' - Norfolk MP praises EDP for taking the lead on dualling campaign

PUBLISHED: 11:32 28 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:49 03 April 2018

The A47 west of Dereham has been the scene of four fatal accidents in 12 months. Picture: Ian Burt

The A47 west of Dereham has been the scene of four fatal accidents in 12 months. Picture: Ian Burt

In our latest article looking at how a fully dualled A47 would benefit our communities, mid-Norfolk's MP George Freeman praised the Just Dual It! campaign and highlighted the need for dualling near one of Norfolk's biggest market towns.

Flowers have been placed next to the A47 at Scarning. Picture: Ian BurtFlowers have been placed next to the A47 at Scarning. Picture: Ian Burt

An MP who has fought for safety measures on the A47 has praised the Just Dual It! campaign to have the whole road dualled.

For towns such as Dereham, Swaffham and King’s Lynn, the road is a lifeline, providing a vital link for shoppers, workers and tourists.

But it has also become a source of tragedy.

A busy stretch connecting Dereham to Swaffham and passing through villages such as Scarning has been labelled a “death trap” by some, including George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk, who has campaigned for action for a number of years.

George Freeman MP. Picture: Ian BurtGeorge Freeman MP. Picture: Ian Burt

The road has been the scene of numerous road traffic collisions, including four which were fatal in the past 12 months.

After each crash, residents, councillors and motorists have highlighted the urgent need for the road to be improved. The calls have prompted some measures to be announced, including improved signage, clearer road markings and better lighting.

But for Mr Freeman, these short-term measures are not enough to solve the problem.

“The A47 west of Dereham from Scarning junction has been a notorious local death trap for too long,” he said.

“I was delighted to get the Prime Minister to Hockering in 2014 to announce the £300m dualling from Dereham to Norwich but the western section to Swaffham is equally urgent.

“Thank you to the EDP for rallying to lead the Just Dual It campaign. We need to speak with one voice, from Lowestoft to Peterborough. Just Dual It.”

Breckland District Council also gave full support to the campaign saying that, along with safety improvements, it could bring wide ranging benefits to the county and boost the local economy.

“Supporting growth and a vibrant local economy is a priority for the council and we are fully behind this important campaign, which will help improve strategic links and benefit businesses in both Breckland and the wider region,” said councillor Gordon Bambridge, Breckland’s executive member for growth.

Dereham Mayor, Hilary Bushell, said that it was an “ideal situation” and everyone had come together to support dualling. However she was reluctant to fully back the campaign, noting: “The town council would be supportive only if there is an understanding of the impact duelling would have on housing growth and services in Dereham”

Could improving the A47 impact town planning?

Dereham Town Council has given the full support to the Just Dual It! campaign, however a spokesperson warned that there could be negative repercussions if it is not carefully considered.

“The Town Council would support the dualling of the A47 and improvements in capacity to junctions only if it is part of a well thought through and balanced development plan for the area,” he said.

“Safety improvements such as better signage, road markings, lighting or average speed cameras would not have adverse impact on growth of the town but a new roundabout, for example, is likely to have significant negative impact on the town as it is likely to result in unplanned housing growth.”

Gordon Bambridge of Breckland District Council said fears of unwanted development are likely to be alleviated when a Local Plan comes into effect. “Once adopted in late summer this year, the new Plan will give the Council more control over the location of new housing and reduce the likelihood of unplanned and speculative development,” he said.

How to support the campaign

People wanting to add their support to the A47 dualling campaign can pick up Just Dual It! postcards to be sent to Norfolk County Council from a number of other locations around Norfolk.

You can get them from the EDP office in Rouen Road; County Hall in Martineau Lane; Norfolk Chamber of Commerce in Whiting Road, Norwich; Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s Town Hall or West Norfolk Council’s offices in King’s Lynn.

However, unlike the ones given away with Friday’s paper, those postcards are not Freepost, so you would need to put a stamp on it, or fill it in and hand it back where you pick it up.

People can also tweet their support for the campaign using the hashtag #justdualit. If you include your full name and location in the tweet, we will transfer your message onto a postcard for you.

You can also write, outlining your experiences of using the A47 to EDP Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPletters@archant.co.uk

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