Anger expressed at public meeting over Dereham’s traffic problems

A typically busy scene at Tavern Lane in Dereham. Picture: ARCHANT.

A typically busy scene at Tavern Lane in Dereham. Picture: ARCHANT.

Anger was expressed at a public meeting held to explore what can be done to tackle gridlock in a Norfolk market town.

At Dereham Memorial Hall on Monday night more than 100 people, including traders, councillors, members of the emergency services and residents of Dereham and surrounding villages gathered to discuss how the town will cope with future housing growth.

There were calls for Dereham to have a new bypass, school and medical centre.

It was said that new housing should be blocked until the town's traffic problems are resolved.

The meeting was organised by Dereham Town Council to gather public opinion before giving feedback to Breckland Council over a transport study the district council commissioned to inform the Local Plan.

Dereham is earmarked for 750 new homes by 2036. The transport assessment concludes that Dereham's roads are already oversubscribed and estimates they could be 30pc busier in 20 years.

The assessment has been criticised for not going far enough in its proposals to tackle the problem.

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Speaking to a panel made up of representatives from Norfolk County Council, Breckland Council and Dereham Town Council, district councillor Paul Claussen said: 'Somewhere along the line everybody here wants you to do some joined up thinking.'

Chairman of Swanton Morley Parish Council Roger Atterwill called for the Breckland Council Local Plan timetable to be halted to allow for Dereham's issues to be investigated in more detail.

Breckland Council's executive member for growth Charles Carter said: 'We fully realise the strength of feeling within this room - rest assured we hear you loud and clear.'

Mr Carter said a series of working group meetings will be held after the Local Plan consultation deadline, on October 31, to enable issues raised to be addressed in more detail.