Long Stratton bypass dependent on new homes
The construction of a long-awaited bypass around a gridlocked south Norfolk town is once again a 'realistic prospect' thanks to new government initiatives, according to the leader of South Norfolk Council.
Campaigners in Long Stratton have long argued that a bypass is crucial to reduce congestion and speed up journeys along the A140 between Norwich and Ipswich, which currently cuts through the centre of the village.
Their hopes were shattered in June when planning permission for the new road elapsed after the project failed to attract the �35m needed in public funding within five years.
But John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, said a bypass was back on the cards thanks to recently announced schemes such as the New Homes Bonus where the government has promised to match fund council tax receipts raised from new developments for up to six years.
Long Stratton is expected to grow by 1,800 new homes by 2026 following the Joint Core Strategy and councillors hope to use revenue created from the development to help fund the wanted road.
But Mr Fuller insisted that no new homes would be built unless the council was certain the bypass would be able to go ahead.
Now South Norfolk Council is planning to consult residents in the new year on how they want Long Stratton to develop following the removal of the traffic and the construction of the housing.
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Mr Fuller said: 'With a bypass a realistic prospect we have to plan what Long Stratton will look like when it's built. But we want to reassure residents who, 20 years ago, were promised a bypass on the back of houses.
'Local people rejected it, but got the houses anyway, but this time the houses will only be built if a bypass is built.
'It's important it does come. People are killed on that road, the air quality is shocking and it's not safe to cross yet Long Stratton has all the benefits of a small town.
'We want residents to tell us what they want it to look like and get involved. I know people are sceptical but if we do not plan for it, it [the bypass] will never come.
'Thousands of new homes are being built in Norwich and Ipswich regardless and something has to be done. If people think it's bad now there will be more and more traffic going along the A140, that's for sure.'
A consultation leaflet, which will be sent to Long Stratton residents and surrounding parishes, will ask what services people use in the town, what would encourage them to spend more time there, looks for opinions on local transport and offers people a chance to comment on what other facilities the town will need, such as a new primary school or more shops.
No set date has been announced for the consultation, but it will also include a series of public exhibitions in venues such as South Norfolk House and the library. Responses will be used to create the area action plan which residents will be consulted on again later in the year.
Consultations for similar area action plans for Wymondham, Diss and Norwich Research Park are also due to take place.