At mid-morning last Friday I watched a duck shepherding at least ten very small ducklings across Hunstanton Road Heacham, not far from the entrance to Heacham Manor Hotel where there is a large spring-fed pond.
Perhaps the unusually mild autumn weather was responsible for this sight, normally associated with spring. Whatever the reason, most motorists slowed down in order to give the young family safe passage.
This was very pleasing to see, but what I also noticed was the steady flow of traffic using this route from Heacham village to the A149 at the foot of Redgate Hill, because according to the West Norfolk Council website, Hopkins Homes have come forward with a revised planning application that might well test the patience of motorists far more than the unexpected appearance of these ‘out of season’ ducklings.
Readers will recall that although Heacham Parish Council has voiced strong opposition to the Hopkins Homes proposal for 166 new dwellings to be erected on land between Heacham Manor golf courses and the Manorfields Estate in Hunstanton, the town council voted in favour of supporting the scheme, subject to a solution being agreed with the local highway authority as far as vehicular access to the site is concerned.
The solution currently being proposed by Hopkins Homes is to construct a roundabout to replace the current junction where Hunstanton Road joins the A149.
This proposal not only has serious implications for traffic flow along the A149, it would also have even worse repercussions for the long suffering residents of Heacham.
That is because instead of driving directly on to the proposed roundabout, traffic from Heacham would be obliged to give way to traffic using a new road serving the Hopkins Homes development.
This really would be tantamount to giving a two finger salute to Heacham Parish councillors and the thousands of villagers they represent.
It is to be hoped, therefore, that even if Hunstanton town councillors have no sympathy with the plight of their Heacham neighbours, they will recognise that the proposed ‘solution’ will create more problems than it solves for many businesses in Hunstanton, which depend heavily on the tourists, most of whom travel to Hunstanton along the A149.
To put it bluntly, town councillors might expose themselves to accusations of being totally ‘round the bend’ if they give their support to this roundabout instead of falling into line behind objectors.
These objectors include Heacham Parish Council, Hunstanton & District Civic Society, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Hunstanton Environmental Landscape Programme and the hundreds of local inhabitants represented by these organisations.
Right: The revised plans by Hopkins Homes with the proposed road layout for the Heacham development