Agenda item

Norfolk County Council: A47 to A1067 Link Improvement Consultation (Agenda Item 7)

Report of the Operations Manager – Environment.

 

A copy of the County Council’s public consultation paper is enclosed as a separate document for members of the Panel.  The information can also be accessed online at http://www.norfolk.gov.uk/A47toA1067link

Minutes:

The Principal Planning Policy Officer presented the report, which informed members of the content of a public consultation being made by the Norfolk County Council on route options for an improved link between the A47 and A1067.  The options indicated improving links between Hockering at the A47 and Lenwade at the A1067.  The southern half of any proposed link would be in Breckland.  A copy of the consultation document had been circulated to members of the Panel and was otherwise available on line at http://www.norfolk.gov.uk/A47toA1067link

 

From the officers’ analysis of the various route options, options 4 and 5 were strongly not supported on grounds of cost and impact.

 

The remaining options 1, 2 and 3 were considered acceptable, with option 2 being considered to offer the best combination of improving access and beneficial cost.

 

Mr S.G. Bambridge, one of the local ward members, had submitted written representations supporting option 1 as the preferred option.

 

In answer to a question from a member, the Principal Planning Policy Officer explained that a sixth option had been promoted locally, which would constitute a bypass for Weston Longville.  This option would have involved construction of a considerable length of new road across the countryside, although it was not known if this was still being pursued locally as a realistic option.

 

The local ward member present drew attention to the fact that the Norfolk County Council’s project for the improved link was fully funded.  While the sixth option that had been put forward at the local level was by far the shortest route, it would be a virgin road at a much greater cost (£15m compared to the County Council’s fully funded project cost of £9m) and was not something that could be done in phases.  It was also pointed out that this sixth option had been excluded as an option several years ago as part of consultation around a proposed northern distributor road for Norwich.

 

In answer to a question, it was agreed that clarification was needed on the projected traffic movement figures and whether these were based on whether the northern distributor route was completed or not.  It was considered that, should the northern distributor route be built, the current projection on traffic figures was under-estimated.

 

It was noted that the emphasis of the scheme had shifted and that it was now a more local scheme of travel to address vehicle movements from the A1067 Fakenham road to the A47.  From figures currently available, there appeared to be very little movement in the opposite direction from Dereham to the north-west of Norwich.

 

It was agreed it would be very useful to seek greater clarification from the County Council on whether traffic movements from Dereham had been factored in.

 

A member was of the view that if the northern distributor route was built, it would be likely to increase use from Dereham.

 

Another member raised the need for awareness of the impact of increased lorry movements (some 60 vehicles per day) from the rendering plant at Witchingham which would have a significant on local villages as the bridge at Lenwade was the only one strengthened to take these vehicles.

 

The local ward member informed members that there was a lot of local feedback now in support of any of options 1, 2 or 3, provided that the road came out to the east of the present junction at Lenwade (the present junction at that point being considered to be the worst of all routes).

 

It was also noted that the present options would need to involve a new junction on to the A47.  Members expressed concern that this could duplicate current efforts to improve local access on to the A47.  The local Ward Member told the meeting that there were proposals under a Ministerial Direction to the Highways Agency for a new roundabout to be built at the Mattishall Road junction in 2008/09 and this would be in place before any proposed link road.

 

In conclusion, members concurred with the analysis of the options as contained in the report and felt that any of options 1, 2 and 3 could be supported, whilst noting some members’ preference for option 1 together with the officers’ recommendation in favour of option 2.

 

         RESOLVED that the report, together with the views of the Panel, be agreed to form the basis of the Council’s response to the consultation by the Norfolk County Council on the proposed improved link between the A47 and A1067.

 

Footnote:  Mr J.D. Rogers and Mr. I.A.C.Monson abstained from voting on this matter.

 

Supporting documents: