Residents’ anger at proposal to stop drivers using King’s Lynn road

Marsh Lane looking Towards Wootton Road. ANL-141218-133852009

Marsh Lane looking Towards Wootton Road. ANL-141218-133852009

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People living on a Gaywood housing estate have reacted angrily after it emerged they could be prevented from driving along the main route that currently leads to their homes.

Plans to block vehicular access along Marsh Lane are being examined as part of proposals to build hundreds of new homes in the area.

West Norfolk Council has confirmed the idea is being considered, but insisted that no decision had been made.

But hundreds of people have already signed an online petition against the housing plans.

And resident Tracey Skinner warned there would be chaos if the current vehicle access was blocked.

She said: “It’s going to be bedlam.”

The proposal has come to light following last week’s public consultation on plans to build 500 new homes on lands around Marsh Lane and Lynnsport by 2020. Around half are proposed for the Marsh Lane area.

Borough council officials say residents would access the developments via a new link road which is proposed to run between the leisure centre and Edward Benefer Way.

A spokesman said the authority had been discussing a number of options with Norfolk County Council Highways officials following an initial public consultation event in September.

Among them is a proposal to install bollards on Marsh Lane, near the site of the old Alderman Jackson School.

That would prevent residents of the existing estate and new developments from driving up the road towards the junction with Wootton Road, though pedestrian and cycle access would still be possible.

The plan also contains provision to link Segrave Road with Marsh Lane.

But the council spokesman stressed: “Nothing has been finalised.”

However, resident David Franklin said the plans did not consider the potential impact on local businesses, particularly the owners of the nearby corner shop, Sam and Tina Patel.

He said: “Sam and Tina live on the Marsh Lane estate and are valued members of our community. To take away a large proportion of their customers is not right at all.”

Miss Skinner’s partner, Daren Brett, has also written to North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham to voice his concerns.

He fears Mr and Mrs Patel will eventually be forced to close their shop if the plan does go ahead.

He said: “Our local shop already is a big part of the community taking parcels for residents of the estate while they are at work. Little things like this are what makes communities.”

Members of a sub-group to the borough council’s King’s Lynn area consultative committee were due to debate the plans at a meeting which began as the Lynn News went to press yesterday.

Meanwhile, an online petition on the borough council’s website against the whole project has already been signed by more than 300 people.

The petition, which was set up by Tony Bruce, aims to protect the existing open spaces and sports pitches, known as River Lane, in the proposed development area.

Mr Bruce wrote: “We believe it is really important to protect this area as it is widely used and is free and accessible to all. People use this area from Gaywood, Reffley, Marsh Lane and North Lynn. It is our ‘equivalent’ to the Walks.

“With more and more houses being built we want to preserve parts of the community that are free and green spaces that can be used and enjoyed by all.

“We understand that there are plans to ‘relocate’ some of these facilities. However, this will be smaller, less accessible and we believe that this is unnecessary and costly when the community resource we have is already working very well.”

However, council chiefs say the plans will provide much-needed new homes with convenient walking and cycling links to the town centre, as well as providing easier access to Lynnsport.

A public consultation on the housing plans remains open until December 30.

Comments can be submitted by emailing sarah.coombes@west-norfolk.gov.uk,or writing to Marsh Lane/Lynnsport Consultation Response, Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, King’s Court, Chapel Street, PE30 1EX.