Western Link is badly needed to ease traffic chaos in villages near A47

 Traffic queued going along the lane into Weston Longville from the A1067

Traffic queued going along the lane into Weston Longville from the A1067 - Credit: Clare Morton

Clare Morton, chair of Weston Longville Parish Council responds to article regarding the proposed Western Link road on the outskirts of Norwich

I read with interest the Opinion piece in the EDP by Willem Buttinger (January 7). In his article he indicated that he was new to the area and the issues and went out onto the ground at Ringland to have a look. 

The area is indeed beautiful. If only he had extended his trip to take in the adjacent parish of Weston Longville, and had a look to see what the impact of the current traffic volumes and speeds are, running through a small rural village and parish. 

He could have taken the time to talk to those whose current lives are blighted by being unable to get out of their drives, or walk along the rural lanes around their homes without being in constant fear of being mown down by one of the 3,000 vehicles a day going through the centre of the village.

If they want to walk or bike to the nearest shop then they must dice with the other 4,500 vehicles using the other route through the parish – the redesignated B1535.
Should the lives of the bats matter? Yes, of course they should.  Should the lives of the residents of Weston Longville parish also matter? Yes, equally they should. 

There has been nothing speedy about the decision to put a road across the Wensum Valley – various schemes and options have been proposed and studied on and off for the last 20 years, but over and over again the issues have been parked in the long grass.  

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Year on year the volumes and speeds of traffic through the parish of Weston Longville have increased and now it’s insupportable. 

There seems to be very few practical, viable alternatives being proposed - by any of the nay-saying groups - that will address the misery of those living in the Weston Longville parish. Anyone who says investing in public transport alone is the answer does not understand the severity of the local issues or the reality of rural life for the vast majority of people.

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The strict lockdown in spring 2020 gave us an insight into what our community could expect when the Norwich Western Link is built, and the return to a much more tranquil, rural life that we haven’t had for decades. 

It is unrealistic to think that this could be the norm without a new route taking traffic out of our villages, especially with the upcoming dualling of the A47 between North Tuddenham and Easton and thousands of new homes and jobs planned in and around Norwich. We can’t ignore these changes and we can’t wait for the problem to get worse still, action is needed now.

The proposed Western Link – which does not cross the River Tud as was stated - is the mitigation to improve the quality of life of parishioners, I’m sure that the wellbeing of the bats can be equally mitigated.  

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