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Business chiefs call for improved infrastructure after slow travel times highlighted

PUBLISHED: 15:55 09 May 2018

The New Anglia LEP's Chris Starkie said the plan was addressing transport concerns. Picture: JAMES BASS

The New Anglia LEP's Chris Starkie said the plan was addressing transport concerns. Picture: JAMES BASS

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Business chiefs say the future prosperity of businesses in Norfolk require “fit for purpose” transport links as figures show crippling low average journey speeds between the county’s towns.

Key statistics from the new Suffolk and Norfolk transport strategy. Picture: NEW ANGLIA LEPKey statistics from the new Suffolk and Norfolk transport strategy. Picture: NEW ANGLIA LEP

Statistics from the Integrated Transport Strategy for Norfolk and Suffolk show average speeds for journeys by car between Norwich and Sheringham, Great Yarmouth, and King’s Lynn range from 33mph to 41mph, with Norwich to Ipswich journey speeds averaging only 36mph.

This is in stark contrast to average speeds to London and Cambridge which are 54mph and 51mph respectively.

The strategy also highlights the high levels of congestion on the A47 between Great Yarmouth and Acle.

The report, put together by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and county councils, has highlighted areas of improvement over the next three to five years while looking ahead to the 2040s.

Among some of the priority areas are Norwich, Ipswich, the energy coast, and key routes such as the A14 and A47, with improvements to rail infrastructure including digital rail signalling and also better links to airports.

Jonathan Cage, president of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the chamber’s transport and infrastructure group, said: “Norfolk Chamber would welcome any opportunity to improve the transport infrastructure throughout East Anglia and continues to lobby hard on behalf of our members to gain further improvements.

“We have recently stepped up our campaigning for a fully dualled A47 from Lowestoft to the A1 with the ‘Just Dual It!’ campaign and we are also campaigning for the ‘missing link’ to join the Broadland Northway to the A47.

“For the local business community to remain competitive and accessible, fit for purpose transport links are vital.”

Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The Integrated Transport Strategy for Norfolk and Suffolk will clearly evidence where investment in transport is needed and what this investment could achieve.

“To create an environment where businesses can flourish, our transport infrastructure needs improving and consideration needs to be given to how we will live, work and travel in future.

“We know that effective transport networks can help to boost inward investment and business growth. They can also unlock opportunities for inclusive growth across all communities and provide people with better and safe access to services, products and opportunities.”

Suffolk County Council will discuss the plan at its meeting next week.

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