Calls for Norfolk infrastructure improvements to be top priority for government

Jack Richards & Sons managing director Peter Brown at the depot in Fakenham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Jack Richards & Sons managing director Peter Brown at the depot in Fakenham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Fresh calls have been made for the incoming government to focus on Norfolk's infrastructure needs to unlock the county's economic potential.

Improved road and rail links – in particular further dualling of the A47, the Great Yarmouth third river crossing and upgrades on the Norwich-London rail line – have been highlighted as one of Norfolk Chamber's key requests of ministers after June 8.

The demand has been backed by businesses, who say that investment in the county's key transport arteries can support their growth ambitions.

Peter Brown, managing director of Fakenham-based haulier Jack Richards & Son, said: 'At present the A47 creates a bottleneck out of Norfolk towards our markets in the Midlands and the North, adding significant costs for manufacturing companies based in our county. We urgently need investment to relieve this restriction and give Norfolk businesses the opportunity to flourish.'

The dualling of the Acle Straight, the stretch between Tilney and East Winch in West Norfolk, and the Hardwick Flyover, are on the wishlist for the Chamber, which is working with the A47 Alliance.

President Jonathan Cage said: 'A fully dualled A47 will help to boost the economic prosperity of Norfolk and a large part of the East of England, and will make a significant contribution to the national economy.

'A47 improvements could help deliver over 16,000 more jobs, over 10,000 new homes and an increase of £706m per annum in the economic output within 20 years.'

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It also urged government to make a swift decision on local authorities' funding bid for £1.2m towards the third Yarmouth river crossing, which Great Yarmouth Chamber Council president Neil Orford said would 'save businesses time and money'.

The improvements called for on the Great Eastern Main Line include work at Ely Junction, Suffolk Haughley junction, Trowse and others in Essex.

The Chamber wants to keep up the pressure on these upgrades, so that new rolling stock on the line can be used to full capacity with faster, more frequent journeys.

The infrastructure demands are part of Norfolk Chamber's five-point manifesto, which also asks government to support trade, local growth, a better business environment and a favourable Brexit deal.