Terminal bypass a threat to businesses

A coastal village has given the thumbs-down to plans to build a bypass around it to protect the Bacton gas terminal from terrorists.

A coastal village has given the thumbs-down to plans to build a bypass around it to protect the Bacton gas terminal from terrorists.

Nearly 100 people from Bacton attended a parish council meeting on Monday night to voice fears over the proposed government security mea-sures around the site which handles 30pc of the country's gas needs.

There are mounting concerns that if the go-ahead is given for the road, shops and village services, such as the post office, will suffer as fewer people travel through the community.

During the meeting only two people said they would like to see the new scheme and a recent village survey saw 77pc of residents claiming there was no need for the new security arrangements.

Tony Arnold, from the anti-bypass Bacton Action Group, said: “If the bypass is built then the viability of our village shops and businesses will be seriously threatened.

“As far as I can see virtually everyone is convinced there should be other ways to secure the gas terminal and they are suspicious of the whole government process.”

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Already there are several reports of people finding it hard to sell their properties while the government drags out its initial decision process over the bypass.

Mr Arnold said his group's other main concern was the loss of some of the beautiful north Norfolk country-side.

The government is looking at six strategic sites across the country, including Bacton, which may be targeted by terrorist groups. Govern-ment minister Tony McNulty is expected to publish his initial security measure findings in September.

Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, who attended the Monday meeting, believes that instead of the bypass, security at the terminal could be improved by installing concrete blocks along the roadside to prevent 'vehicular incursions'.

And Mr Lamb's Conservative rival Trevor Ivory has criticised the need for a bypass which he says would end up blighting the whole area as shops and businesses close in its wake.

Mr Ivory, who commissioned the village survey, said: “The lack of consultation so far gives the impression that the government has gone straight to the most extreme option in suggesting a bypass without giving any thought to less intrusive alternatives.”

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