A47 dualling scheme axed

NEWS that a �28m scheme to dual the A47 between Burlingham and Blofield has been finally axed was last night greeted with dismay by villagers and road campaigners.

NEWS that a �28m scheme to dual the A47 between Burlingham and Blofield has been finally axed was last night greeted with dismay by villagers and road campaigners.

The prospects for achieving the scheme on a stretch long recognised as an accident blackspot had looked increasingly bleak since the government downgraded the A47 from a national to a regional trunk road in 2006, meaning it had to compete for limited funding against a host of other road schemes across the eastern counties.

The East of England Regional Assembly (Eera) has now bowed to the inevitable and removed it from its list for proposed government funding.

George Debbage, Broadland district councillor for Blofield, said: “I am disgusted because it is one of the crucial road links. We need the whole of the A47 dualled right through to Yarmouth. I can't see the sense of going ahead with the outer harbour, which is going to bring a lot of jobs, and not sorting out this little bit of road. It is ridiculous.”

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Road safety campaigner Valerie Knights, who lives in the White House, at Beighton, is also angry the scheme has been dropped only seven years after a minister's announce-ment seemed to make it a certainty.

Mrs Knights, who keeps first-aid equipment and crowbars handy because of the number of accidents outside her home, has led calls for a large roundabout, taking in both the Beighton and South Walsham road junctions, to be part of any scheme for dualling the Burlingham to Blofield stretch.

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She said crossing the dualled A47 from the Beighton Road was currently a “nightmare”, especially with holiday traffic.

The bottleneck created by dual carriageway then going into single-carriageway was another hazard, leading to a lot of shunt accidents.

Adrian Gunson, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for planning and transportation and a spokesman for the regionally based A47 Alliance, said: “I am disappointed but not surprised. We have realised for some time that dualling of the Blofield to Burlingham stretch was not going to take place because of government actions on trunk roads in 2006.

“Significantly, there are no schemes currently planned on the A47 right through to Peterborough.”

A spokesman for Eera and the East of England Development Agency, said: “This particular scheme is unaffordable given the current levels of funding for transport the region receives from central government.

“The East of England continues to suffer due to the insufficient amount of money allocated for regional transport improvements from central government. We are working collectively to lobby for more money to ease congestion across the region, which it is estimated will cost the national economy �2bn by 2021.”

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