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'Seriously faulty' methods used for Dereham Transport Study, says town council

PUBLISHED: 18:00 15 March 2017

A typical traffic jam on Tavern Lane, Dereham.  Picture: Matthew Usher

A typical traffic jam on Tavern Lane, Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher

A much maligned transport study, commissioned by Breckland Council to assess the impact of proposed development on Dereham's roads, will not be able to be used by developers as definitive evidence alone to support their planning applications, councillors heard today.

At a Breckland Council meeting to discuss the development strategy for Dereham for its emerging Local Plan, the working group heard concerns from Dereham Town Council that the transport study still badly misrepresented the actual situation faced by motorists on a daily basis.

Town council clerk Tony Needham said he had carried out his own queue analysis at the same time as the Dereham Transport Study authors WYG Transport Planning had used its data recording equipment.

“I photographed the queues on the day the analysis was done,” he said. “The traffic was queued back from Tavern Lane junction to Strikes on Station Road and to Commercial Road. This queue length is four times what WYG say it is. I have clear evidence to show that their methodology is seriously faulty.

“The problem is that the counters they use on the roads do not work well in situations where traffic is moving less than five miles per hour or in queueing.”

Linda Monument said the study should not be allowed to go through and form the basis of evidence in the Local Plan if it was “full of whopping fibs”.

She added: “We need to know that the information will not be regarded when it comes to planning in the future and that an improved transport study, that we at the town council are prepared to pay for, will be taken notice of.”

Tim Mills, executive member for growth at Norfolk County Council, said the Local Plan could not be used to address existing problems.

“The information shows that there is a problem at Tavern Lane and a lot of the issue is about flow,” he said. “We are happy with the study as a strategic assessment for the purpose of the Local Plan but we will take note of how it is used in the specific planning process as every development proposal will be required to have its own transport assessment.”

The Working Group agreed that Breckland would work with the town and county councils to undertake additional transport modelling.

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