Work set to start on construction of Felbrigg roundabout ahead of summer opening
Long-awaited work to improve a bottleneck junction in north Norfolk is set to start next month, it has been confirmed.
Norfolk County Council is driving ahead with plans to build a new £619,000 roundabout on the A148 road between Cromer and Sheringham, at the turn off for Felbrigg.
It follows a long running road safety campaign amid concerns of an increase in traffic from the opening of the area's first crematorium nearby.
The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, North Norfolk District Council, Cromer Town Council, the parish councils of Roughton, Runton and Felbrigg, as well as developers and local businesses all contributed to the project.
And now it is hoped the funding partnership can be replicated elsewhere in the county to pay for similar schemes.
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Councillor Hilary Cox, who represents Cromer on both the county and district council, said: 'It's so gratifying, after so many years of effort, to see this scheme about to start, and backed by such a wide range of community supporters.
'The new roundabout means the junction will be much easier to negotiate, safer, and encourage vehicles that do not need to stop in Cromer to bypass it and cut congestion in the town.
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'I'm looking forward to seeing the roundabout ready not only for all the local residents and businesses but also all the people who come to enjoy this lovely part of the world during the busy summer season.'
Work is expected to start on the development on Monday, March 6, and take 12 weeks to complete - with an opening envisaged by the end of May.
Martin Wilby, chairman of the Norfolk County Council's Environment, Transport and Development Committee said; 'This is a great example of a community coming together to deliver a local priority. This new roundabout will benefit local people and visitors alike.
'We try to minimise disruption during roadworks but know that delays are likely while the work is underway so we thank people for their patience while this much called for local scheme is built.
'It's the first time we've seen a scheme made possible through partners' contributions. This could well point the way forward for other requests for larger schemes which don't meet the criteria for the county council to fund alone but which could be made possible if enough partners can chip in.'
The Westerleigh Group, the company behind the new crematorium in Cromer; Starlings Transport, the North Walsham-based haulage firm; Maretts Chariots, a coach firm based in Norwich; the National Trust, which runs nearby Felbrigg Hall; and Cromer and District Independent Funeral Services were among those to contribute to the total cost of the scheme.
Felbrigg councillor Sue Arnold, chairman of the Steps to Safety Campaign, said: 'North Norfolk District Council is pleased to have been able to contribute nearly £30,000 to this project that will improve safety on the roads for our residents while cutting congestion and making visiting our beautiful area better for tourists.
'To get to this point after so many years is terrific, and it has taken hard work and strong support from many sides. I would especially like to thank the dedication and financial contribution made by local parish councils that have given at a level out of proportion to their relatively small size. And tribute must be paid to the members of the Steps committee who have worked tirelessly for many years to achieve this much needed road safety feature. Working together really does make good things happen.'
Motorists are being warned of disruption ahead during the construction of the roundabout, with traffic controlled by temporary traffic lights.
And a temporary closure of the route will be required when the new roundabout is being surfaced.
Councillor Denis Connelly, vice-chairman of Felbrigg Parish Council, said: 'We are very pleased, after all the hard work over many years, that construction of this roundabout is about to commence. I am sure that it will operate for the safety and benefit of all who use it. Thanks to everyone who has campaigned long and hard for its construction.'