Final hearings to decide on major Thickthorn roundabout revamp

Thickthorn Roundabout July 2020. Picture: Mike Page

Thickthorn Roundabout July 2020. Picture: Mike Page - Credit: Mike Page

The final round of public hearings which will help decide if the multi-million revamp of the Thickthorn roundabout goes ahead are about to start.

National Highways is seeking a development consent order for the transformation of the major interchange, where the A11 and A47 meet on the edge of Norwich, near Hethersett.

The latest hearings come almost a year after the plans for the area were lodged with the Planning Inspectorate.

Plan showing Thickthorn Roundabout changes

The plans for the changes at Thickthorn Roundabout. - Credit: Highways England

The plans include a new slip road off the A11 northbound, which would take motorists beneath both roads before rejoining traffic on the A47 heading towards Great Yarmouth - eliminating the need to use the roundabout.

The changes, which would cause major disruption whilst being carried out, would also see a segregated left-hand turn added to those travelling eastbound on the A47, a new footbridge and a fourth lane on the southern part of the junction.

Thickthorn Roundabout.

Thickthorn Roundabout. - Credit: Highways England

Latest hearings will be held, virtually, on Tuesday (March 1), Wednesday (March 2) and Thursday (March 3), with an extra hearing on Friday (March 4) set aside if it proves necessary.

The hearings are likely to include representations by Big Sky Developments, the housing development company owned by South Norfolk Council, which has been building homes close to the junction.

Representatives from Trustees of The Mackintosh Trust, which owns nearby land are also likely to attend to discuss access to land either side of the proposed Cantley Road link road.

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Environmental matters are due to be discussed at Thursday's hearing.

Previous hearings were held in November, one of which was notable because nobody turned up to speak at it.

Graham Plant, Councillor, at the grand reopening of the Venetian Waterways and Boating Lake, Great Y

Graham Plant, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Archant

Graham Plant, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council has previously hailed the mooted changes as "really important for Norfolk's economy".

But Green county councillor Paul Neale dubbed it as a "spaghetti junction" which would be "highly damaging" to the local environment.

Norfolk county councillor Paul Neale.

Paul Neale, Green county councillor. - Credit: Norwich Green Party

The final decision on whether the project can go ahead rests with transport secretary Grant Shapps.

He can choose to accept the inspector's recommendation, or could ignore it.

File photo dated 07/10/12 of Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps, who has insisted Starbucks ha

Transport secretary Grant Shapps. - Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

The latter happened with the planning inquiry into the proposed revamp of Norwich's Anglia Square.

A planning inspector recommended approval, but local government inspector Robert Jenrick disagreed and blocked the scheme.