‘An opportunity that can’t be missed’ - Call to arms over A11 dualling
- Credit: copyright: Archant 2014
A group of MPs and business leaders have agreed to bang the drum for our economy by sending the message that the dualling of the A11 means that Norfolk and Suffolk are 'open for business'.
Seven MPs from across the area and representatives from groups including Norfolk County Council, New Anglia LEP, Anglian Water and the EDP met at Westminster yesterday to hammer out a plan to push our region's business profile once the nine-mile stretch of road is fully dualled by the end of the year.
Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, chaired the meeting and described the opening, scheduled for October, as 'an opportunity that cannot be missed'.
'This is about us asking how can our businesses expand, how can we highlight our heritage and how can we highlight our tourism trade?' she said. 'But what people also want to show is that it's not just a road, it's about maximising the impact of getting the A11 dualled and letting people know that we are open for business.'
RAF Marham, Hethel Engineering, the University of Anglia and Thetford Academy were among the range of businesses and institutions set to benefit from the dualling, according to Ms Truss.
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Several speakers, including George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk, and Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, said there had to be a strong emphasis on the completion being the start of major development in the region.
Mr Freeman said: 'The bigger message is that we are building a regional economy with clean, green, modern growth and this is not the end, it's just the beginning.'
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Mr Lewis and Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, were also keen to push the case for the road's completion acting as a springboard for wider investment – including the improvement of the A47.
Mr Lewis said: 'It's a start for what should follow next. It's something we can work right down the spine that goes through to the A47.'
The dualling project, taking place from the Fiveways roundabout near Barton Mills to Thetford, is due to be completed in October this year. Work started in January 2013.
What do you think the dualling's impact on Norfolk and Suffolk will be? Let us know by emailing reporter Andrew Fitchett on firstname.lastname@example.org