Blueprints drawn up to tackle congestion in Norfolk’s market towns

Dereham market place. Picture: Ian Burt

Dereham market place. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Hundreds of thousands of pounds could be spent to make sure roads and transport in Norfolk’s market towns will be able to cope with new homes in the years ahead.

A row over Norwich being given millions less in transport funding than it had hoped for has seen cou

A row over Norwich being given millions less in transport funding than it had hoped for has seen councillors accuse rivals of incoherence in the proposals. Pictured, Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport. Picture: Simon Parkin - Credit: Simon Parkin

Council bosses fear that, with 30,000 new homes due to be built in towns and villages within decades, pressures will be piled on to road networks.

With 190,000 people living in the county’s market towns, Norfolk County Council chiefs were keen to make sure they were “future fit” and can handle future growth.

So they studied the infrastructure of 10 towns - Dereham, Diss, North Walsham, Swaffham, Thetford, Aylsham, Downham Market, Fakenham, Wroxham and Hoveton and Wymondham - to come up with transport network improvement strategies.

A strategy for Dereham has already been adopted and the council’s cabinet has just agreed to adopt strategies in the others, bar Wymondham, with the study there not complete.

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The council has about £820,000 available to spend on changes in the years ahead, but would also seek to get funding from other methods, including from business rates and from developers.

Among proposed changes are:

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• Further study work examining the feasibility of the A134 link road in Thetford

• Potential schemes to improve congestion at Dereham’s B1135 roundabout junction near Tesco

• A scheme to improve Vince’s Road roundabout in Diss

• Ways to make Red Lion Street in Aylsham more pedestrian friendly

• Exploring the possibility of a bypass at Swaffham.

Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure at the council, said: “These studies have looked in detail at the market towns in Norfolk with the most pressing issues relating to existing and anticipated housing growth and sought to tackle their communities’ main transport concerns.

“As a result we have identified some potential projects that could make a real difference to local residents, including measures to help people walk, cycle and use public transport in the towns, alleviating traffic congestion in the centre of Dereham and the possibility of creating a north-south bypass around Swaffham.

“The next steps are to carry out more detailed work on each of these projects and seeing how we might fund and deliver them.”

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