Reader Letter: Concerns over safety on part of the A47
- Credit: Nick Butcher
As a direct result of county council policy all of the domestic, commercial, tourist and heavy goods traffic moving between the north of the county and the A47 is funnelled into a single section of road (Quebec Road) where the parish of Hoe meets that of Dereham on the town outskirts.
Within a quarter mile or so the road has several very distinct hazards that threaten the wellbeing and safety of a large number of local residents and the most vulnerable members of local families at both ends of their lives.
There is very considerable support for having the speed limit on this section of road reduced from 60mph to 40mph before it drops to 30mph to allow for a gradual speed reduction rather than an abrupt and large drop which is hard to comply with and frequently ignored. The whole issue is fully discussed on the parish website (hoeandworthing.co.uk) and is identical to one recently headlined in the EDP where three children crossing to their school in Coltishall were very nearly struck by a light goods vehicle.
Had it been a heavier vehicle it could not have stopped in time and the children would have been added to the list of those who die or receive life-changing injuries on our county's roads; this is currently well in excess of one each day. Both Coltishall and Hoe and now Dereham have highlighted the dangers of these single roads in their parishes and suggested remedies before a very-predictable tragedy occurs. These efforts however have come to nothing because to even be considered the roads would have to already have a 'cluster' of people previously killed or seriously injured (known as KSI at County Hall). Both the policy and budget for road safety is set by the county councillors we elect and the budget has been reduced by almost 90pc. The policy itself includes a 'target' for deaths and serious injuries, with a separate one for children, which has been consistently well-exceeded and is steadily rising.
The policy has not been effective in reducing this appalling carnage for almost a decade but Cliff Jordan, the elected councillor who leads the county council has informed us 'I am confident we have the right balance'.
I have not spoken to anybody else who believes it is anything other than morally indefensible, underfunded and entirely inefficient. Mr Jordan is also a member of Dereham Town Council (whose 'official' policy is to support the reduced speed limit) and one of its councillors will be arranging a meeting for residents and others to make their views known. In the spirit of accountability, which underpins our democratic system,
I hope to see Mr Jordan there to answer people's concerns for their safety. In the meantime all they can do is cross their fingers.