‘Admit you got it wrong’, councils told in road row

Roadworks on the A631
Roadworks on the A631

Community representatives have slammed plans to build a new roundabout as part of a major housing scheme, which are set to shut a key road junction for seven months.

Work on the new layout at the junction of the A149 with Hunstanton Road, Heacham, had been due to start on Monday, but has now been delayed until next month.

Transport officers have insisted the scheme will go ahead.

But parish councillors say the whole project should be halted while a review is undertaken.

The roundabout is set to be built to provide access to the forthcoming Hopkins Homes development on the southern edge of Hunstanton, which was given planning permission by West Norfolk Council in November last year.

County roads officials have pointed out that the plan for a roundabout was included in the developer’s application.

But opponents say an alternative access, via Harry’s Way, which they say will be used for construction traffic anyway, would not have needed the level of work now required.

They also claim no proper environmental assessment was carried out before the committee voted to approve the application.

Terry Parish, chairman of the parish council’s lighting and watching committee, said: “The rejected access to the north would have required no significant work, no road closures for seven months, and would not have needed 17,000 cubic metres of rock to be transported.

“New developments are supposed to have sustainability at their heart and this includes construction.”

He has called for a full review of the roundabout plan and an admission that the wrong access option was proposed.

He said local residents and businesses should also be consulted on the project and compensated for the inconvenience created by the work.

But those calls appear to have been rejected by Norfolk County Council, who say work will now begin on September 5.

A spokesman yesterday said: “The decision to delay the road works was taken to reduce the impact of the road closure during the peak of the region’s tourist season.

“The partial closure of Hunstanton Road will run from the A149 junction for 250m and will be the only temporary closure for this development.

“Despite this delay, the roundabout and link road will take approximately seven months to deliver which will still meet the original completion date.”

West Norfolk Council had not commented at the time of going to press.