Farmer fears A47 dualling changes could risk crashes

The A47 between Blofield and North Burlingham. Pic: Highways England.

The A47 between Blofield and North Burlingham. Pic: Highways England. - Credit: Highways England

A Norfolk farmer has called on road developers to rethink cutting off an exit to her field, arguing it could put lives at risk.

A public hearing into proposals to dual a section of the A47 between Blofield to North Burlingham saw one person raise concerns about the impact on road safety as farm vehicles pull out of the proposed turning.

The Blofield to North Burlingham scheme would see the existing single-lane section replaced with a new 2.6km dual carriageway, 70m south of the existing road.

Acle Hall Farm

Acle Hall Farm - Credit: Google Maps

On Tuesday morning, Jane Jones, owner of Acle Hall Farm, told the planning inspector that she had safety concerns that she did not feel had been taken seriously by National Highways.

Ms Jones, who owns land on both sides of the A47, said they currently use a layby on the north side to exit their field.

While she said she understood the developers wanted to close the layby due to safety concerns, she argued that for farm vehicles it would be safer than using the proposed The Windle road further along.

“I don’t want to be responsible for an accident at that junction when I think that having access to that layby would prevent it," she said, and added: "If someone’s life is lost I want to feel that I have done everything I can.” 

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Alex Hutton, the planning inspector, said he believed the developers thought there would be more visibility further along making it safer but Ms Jones said The Windle junction means starting from 0mph, making it difficult to join the traffic.

Richard Guyatt, speaking on behalf of National Highways, promised the body was listening to Ms Jones' concerns and would be reviewing the information and writing to her in due course. 

The Planning Inspectorate has been holding virtual hearings to consider the application by National Highways for a development consent order for the £300m dualling scheme.

The Planning Inspectorate will then make a recommendation to the secretary of state, who has the final say on whether work goes ahead.

The Blofield to North Burlingham plan is part of a series of improvement works proposed by National Highways that started in 2014.

Highways have been criticised by Norfolk County Council for the slow progress on making the works a reality.

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