UKIP councillor Jonathon Childs criticises ‘first UKIP own goal’, after general election candidate Catherine Blaiklock opposes dualling of a section of the A47
- Credit: Norfolk County Council/UKIP
A UKIP county councillor has hit out at his own party, over the views of their candidate up for election in one of the region's constituencies.
Jonathon Childs, councillor for East Flegg, spoke out after UKIP's prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) Catherine Blaiklock for Great Yarmouth backed a campaign against re-routing part of the A47 through the Norfolk countryside.
Mrs Blaiklock, 53, was selected by the party's membership at a meeting on Wednesday, April 26.
But she has also been vocal about her opposition to the dualling of a section of the A47 between Blofield and North Burlingham, east of Norwich.
MORE: Anger over plans to re-route A47 through Norfolk countrysideIn April, Highways England presented Broadland District Council's cabinet with four options for the new dual carriageway as part of a 'high level' consultation.
During the meeting, cabinet members agreed to support option three - to build a new route across fields south of the existing A47.
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Mrs Blaiklock, whose guest house on Lingwood Road would be affected by the scheme, said it would have a 'catastrophic' impact on the countryside.
However, Mr Childs said her opposition to the scheme had 'presented the other parties with their first UKIP own goal.'
MORE: Catherine Blaiklock confirmed as UKIP's general election candidate for Great YarmouthHe said: 'We as a group at County Hall have worked with the rainbow alliance and the Tories to get the much needed improvements carried out to the A47 and for our UKIP PPC to make a stance like this is an insult to the folk of our town, whom take their lives in their hands on this dangerous stretch of road.
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'Yarmouth is crying out for improvements to be made on the A47, it's a disgrace that our PPC puts her local interests before those of our town.'
However, Mrs Blaiklock said this had been an issue for her long before her desire to stand for election.
And that it was the particular option and the way it was decided she opposed to - not A47 improvements in general.
MORE: Which candidates are standing in the Norfolk County Council elections and who should you vote for?She said: 'Route three is the worst out of all of the options. It is going to destroy hundreds of acres of wildlife and farmland.
'There is also a vast area of footpaths that Lingwood [parish council] paid to put in, and this route will smash them to pieces.'
Mrs Blaiklock has formed a local action group opposing the route, and claims to have collected 100 signatures objecting to it.
She also claimed people living in the village of Lingwood did not receive any leaflets about a public consultation for the plans.
But Highways England said people had been invited to a public event at Lingwood Village Hall on March 29.
She added option four would have been less invasive, and claimed this was the option parish councillors were meant to suggest.
'I am not at all against improvements to the A47, it's nothing to do with that.'
Peter Fitzgerald, UKIP Great Yarmouth chairman, said: 'She was concerned about the route and how that choice was made, it's not against UKIP decisions or policy.
'It's not that she's against upgrades, this is being highjacked by those who want to make the first punch in what may be a dirty war as far as PPCs are concerned.'