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23 November 2012, 06:00
The campaign to improve the A47 across Norfolk is being launched today.
A full study has been carried out into the potential benefits of improving the road, and Norfolk County Council say it could have significant benefits for jobs, investment and cutting journey times.
The A47, as an important link between the Midlands and the North of England and continental Europe, is classed as part of the Trans-European Network and designated by the UK Government as a Trunk road. However, the campaign team say the poor quality and unreliability of parts of the route mean that it is a drag on business and the economy, rather than the ‘gateway to growth’ it should be.
Their plan sets out an achievable programme of targeted improvements. These could be carried out as individual projects, to transform 105 miles of the A47 from Peterborough to Great Yarmouth. Their prospectus sets out the potential benefits of each scheme, and a realistic approach to funding including opportunities for local and developer contributions, as well as the money that would be needed from the Government.
The campaign team say a combination of selected dualling and junction improvements, and a new river crossing in Great Yarmouth, would within 20 years bring:
• Nearly 10,000 jobs;
• A £390m a year increase in economic output;
• Private investment of over £800m
• A 30 minute reduction in journey time, worth £42m a year to road users.
The 'A47 Gateway to Growth' prospectus will on Monday 26 November be presented to Transport Minister Stephen Hammond by an A47 Alliance delegation pressing for the Government to give a high priority to A47 improvements.
Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council Cabinet member for Planning and Transportation and Chairman of the A47 Alliance, said:
“We are right behind the Government in wanting to see rapid progress on infrastructure improvements that will boost economic recovery, and the report we commissioned shows that the A47 is a prime candidate.
“In the long run, we still want to see the road dualled throughout, but the case for early, targeted improvements is very strong. The ‘Gateway to Growth’ prospectus provides a realistic way forward, recognising the importance of securing developer contributions wherever possible, but also showing what benefits would flow from the investment of public money.”
Keith Simpson, MP for Broadland and MP representative on the A47 Alliance, said:
“The A47 is the transport spinal cord of our county. We need to improve the A47 to get Norfolk moving. Targeted improvements will help reduce accidents and save lives. They will help businesses who need efficient and speedy road connections linking King's Lynn with Yarmouth.”
Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, said:
"Improving the A47 can join our east coast up, not just across Norfolk, but to the Midlands and North of England. It can play a major role in improving safety on the road and giving business an even great ability to grow and flourish in our county, with improved infrastructure and connectivity to markets."
Cllr Vivienne Spikings, Vice Chairman of the A47 Alliance and Borough Council Cabinet Member for Development, said:
“We wholeheartedly support this campaign for targeted improvements to the A47. The A47 is a key route for businesses, visitors to and residents of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk. The robust, economic business case we have put together demonstrates how improvements at specific junctions or along certain stretches of the A47 could not only result in faster journey times for road users, but could also unlock private investment in Norfolk, increase the county’s economic output and create jobs. In King’s Lynn, these improvements are crucial for the future growth and prosperity of the borough.”
Andy Wood, chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
"The A47 is a crucial road artery linking Norfolk with the Midlands and the North. Our Gateway to Growth prospectus shows the clear economic benefits of upgrading the road and we are keen to explore ways of turning the plans into reality."
Caroline Williams, CEO Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said:
“There is no doubt that improving Norfolk’s poor infrastructure especially the A47 will enable Norfolk businesses to develop more quickly and create the jobs that are so needed. Norfolk ‘s business community are united in the desire to grow and we look for improvement to the A47 to help us make this a reality and connect us more effectively to the west of the country.”
Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, said:
"Improving the A47 will greatly help Norwich businesses and householders. We have a chance now to build the campaign carefully."