Borough urged to back village crossing appeal

?500 given to the crossing campaign. Michael De Whalley with Alexandra Kemp (left) and Jo Rust. ANL-151006-141827009

?500 given to the crossing campaign. Michael De Whalley with Alexandra Kemp (left) and Jo Rust. ANL-151006-141827009

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Borough council leaders have been urged to step in and help campaigners’ bid for a new pedestrian crossing near the entrance to a West Lynn housing estate.

More than £1,000 has already been raised for the Safe Crossing for Poppyfields appeal, which was launched in February.

And the campaign has been further boosted by the support of several local politicians, one of whom presented the proceeds of his own fundraising efforts this week.

But, with Norfolk County Council insisting it cannot commit any cash to the project, West Norfolk Council is now being pressed to contribute towards the estimated £50,000 cost.

Local county councillor Alexandra Kemp has called on the authority to consider using its special expenses provision of cash for the unparished areas of Lynn.

Although the council has set up a facility to hold funds raised for the campaign in trust, she believes they could, and should, be doing more to support the appeal.

And she maintains the problems in the area could be traced back to the failure to provide a proper crossing when the estate was first built.

She said: “This sort of poor planning should never, ever be allowed to happen again.”

Borough council leader Nick Daubney said the authority was “sympathetic” to the campaign.

He said: “If we can help the people of West Lynn, we will have to look at it, but we need a properly costed proposal.”

And he is unhappy that the borough is being asked to pay for a project which is in an area of county council responsibility, highways, rather than its own.

He said: “That keeps happeneing that they expect the districts to pick it up.

“We call it cost-shovelling, but it still costs the public.”

The crossing issue returned to the agenda last autumn when a girl was injured in a collision with a car on the old A17 Clenchwarton Road, which passes the entrance to the Poppyfields estate.

The fundraising campaign began in February after county council chiefs said they could not justify funding the development due to a low accident record.

But Miss Kemp said recent figures showing Norfolk is on course to miss its target for reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on the county’s roads showed that new crossings like the one in West Lynn were needed.

She also claimed police data showed speeding was a regular problem in the area.

The fundraising campaign received a further boost on Wednesday when Green Party campaigner Michael de Whalley handed over £500 raised when he ran last month’s GEAR race.

Labour activist Jo Rust and councillor Gary McGuinness also contributed to the campaign by completing the 10 kilometre race in early May, while pupils at the village’s primary school have also been raising funds.

And Miss Kemp, who represents the area as an independent, said she wanted people from all sides of the political divide to come together and ensure the crossing can be built.

She said: “I will not play politics with children’s safety and wellbeing. The community has to pull together to get this built now.”

The total raised for the appeal currently stands at around £1,300.

Since the West Lynn campaign was launched, a similar appeal has begun in Terrington St Clement, led by officials from the village’s primary school.

However, Miss Kemp said it was unlikely that the two campaigns would join forces.