Villages’ and market towns’ to be studied

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Norfolk County Council is facilitating a sustainable development programme for West Norfolk’s market towns and larger villages.

Officials plan to address the transport pressures of planned housing and employment growth in Downham, Swaffham and Fakenham by improving access to public transport and reducing congestion.

In order to address these issues, council chiefs plan to undertake market town studies, which aim to uncover current transport problems and issues as well as understand the future situation.

Norfolk County Council’s executive director for community and environmental services, Tom McCabe, said: “Many of Norfolk’s market towns have a considerable amount of planned housing and employment growth identified through local plans.

“In March, members agreed to a programme of studies looking at the transport impacts of growth in market towns. This would allow the county council to identify and plan interventions ahead of the growth. Members agreed that a further report should be brought back to committee to recommend the scope of the studies and a programme.

“Since March, officers have considered readily available evidence around transport and growth issues, had initial discussions with district councils and reviewed any ongoing work.”

The market town studies will analyses road traffic casualties, identify traffic issues, analyses public transport provision, assess access to services and facilities, and map cycle networks and key pedestrian routes between major origins and destinations.

They also aim to understand growth proposals identified in the local plans or other aspirations, comprehend the impact of these growth proposals on the local transport network, and understand implications of future changes to the economy or transport provision, and the likely future role of the town, among more.

Mr McCabe added: “The market town studies will assist the county council’s planning of services. Whilst the studies will focus on transport it will assist in other areas of service planning, most notably access to education.”