Highways chief pledges to look at A148 safety options near Cromer

A highways chief has pledged to explore a list of options aimed at improving safety on a north Norfolk road which has been the focus of campaigning since 2007.

Paul Donnachie, capital programme manager with Norfolk County Council, agreed to examine ideas including a mini-roundabout coupled with a 30mph limit on the Cromer to Holt A148 at its junction with the Felbrigg road.

But Mr Donnachie has ruled out providing a footbridge over the nearby Holt Road rail bridge in the near future saying it was 'simply not affordable' at present.

He told two dozen concerned residents at a roadside meeting that the scheme would cost more than �500,000 - a huge chunk of the county's �2m budget for highways improvements this year.

The meeting, arranged by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb and county councillor Hilary Thompson, heard Holt Road residents voice repeated concerns about dangers to pedestrians, mobility vehicle-users, and parents with buggies trying to cross the narrow bridge, which has no pavement, in the face of dangers including articulated lorries passing in both directions.

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Mr Lamb said reducing the limit from 40mph would improve safety along a significant stretch of the A148 and argued that there were more homes affected than in the whole of High Kelling, which had a 30mph limit.

A mini-roundabout would automatically include a 30mph limit, according to Mrs Thompson. Mr Donnachie said the county council was sympathetic to the footbridge campaigners but had to spend its much-reduced budget on areas where there had been accidents.

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The project was on the council's 'long list', he added. But he agreed to go back to a number of funding bodies, supported by letters from Mr Lamb.

He will also talk to North Norfolk District Council about requiring Lidl to provide a footbridge as part of planning conditions for their proposed supermarket on the site of the current Holt Road BP petrol station, Spar store and Subway outlet.

And he agreed to re-examine the case for providing dropped kerbs at the start of the rail bridge.

Residents complained that people using mobility scooters and buggies had no choice but to cross the bridge on the road but were currently in danger of tippling over when they tried to leave the pavement via the raised kerb.

Campaign leader Diana Meggy said afterwards that she was crossing her fingers but did not feel very reassured.

'It all sounds a bit piecemeal. I just don't think they have tried hard enough.'

Over the years there had been many near accidents. As well as residents, users of the Pinewood caravan site, which had 145 permanent caravans, regularly walked to and from Cromer over the bridge.

Mrs Meggy added. 'Surely the county council needs to be pro-active when it comes to safety.'

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