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Cycle path supporters respond

PUBLISHED: 18:00 12 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:36 03 July 2010

SUPPORTERS of a new cycleway linking Gorleston and Hopton have hit back at opponents' claims there is no need to create the new route to keep schoolchildren safe.

SUPPORTERS of a new cycleway linking Gorleston and Hopton have hit back at opponents' claims there is no need to create the new route to keep schoolchildren safe.

Last week, the Mercury reported Warren Road resident Alex Simpson's anger at the county council's plans to upgrade his Gorleston street for use by pupils cycling to school because the existing path beside the A12 was too dangerous. He said there was no justification for the new path because there had not been any major accidents along the A12 route.

The 68-year-old retired businessman also said the path could not be created along a private road, such as Warren Road.

But borough councillor Gerry Cook, who represents Gorleston St Andrew's ward and Hopton Parish Council chairman Mike Butcher slammed the objectors' protests, saying Hopton residents and many in Gorleston wanted the cycle path.

Mr Butcher said in places the A12 cycle path was only a foot away from the busy dual carriageway, where lorries and cars rush passed at high speeds.

He added he only knew of 27 objectors, compared to 3,000 people who would benefit if a concrete strip was laid on the currently unmade and rutted section between the old Gorleston squash club and Hopton Holiday Village so it could be used by cyclists.

“I just think it is most unfortunate that 27 people are holding a village of 3,000 people to ransom. I just think it is totally unacceptable,” he said.

Mr Cook said the public already had a right of way along Warren Road and the section that was going to be upgraded was rural and uninhabited and not part of the residential road, which homeowners paid to maintain.

He said: “I go along that A12 road often and if I had children, there is no way I would ever let them go to school along that road. It is extremely busy and in the winter there is a lot of mud along there.”

Norfolk county councillor Adrian Gunson said the council does not carry out roadworks to private roads, but the section of Warren Road where the upgrade was going to take place was classed as a “restricted byway,” enabling the council to do work to it.

The plans are currently being reviewed by county council officers following residents' complaints. Once this is complete, a decision will be taken on whether to progress with the upgrade.

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