West Norfolk is priority for A47 cash, Norfolk County Council chief insists

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A county council committee has said improving the A47 in West Norfolk is still a key priority, despite committing £1 million to improvements outside the borough.

The area missed out on a share of a £300 million funding package announced by the government in the autumn.

And, at a meeting of Norfolk County Council’s environment, development and transport committee on Friday, members backed a call to invest £1 million in improvements to the Acle Straight instead.

However, the committee also voted to make the stretch between Tilney and East Winch its second leading priority for a full dual carriageway.

And committee chairman Toby Coke said that recommendation should be seen as positive news for the borough.

He said: “The good thing, from the point of view of Lynn, is it is now on the radar.”

A report presented to the meeting warned that it could be at least 2026 before improvements to the Hardwick, Saddlebow and Pullover roundabouts in Lynn are made.

The paper also suggested that dualling of other parts of the A47 in West Norfolk may not happen until the mid-2030s.

But Mr Coke said the committee’s aim was to make sure that work on both priority areas could start immediately after improvements to the stretches included in the investment announced by minister in November are completed. Those works are due to be carried out by 2021.

He also maintains that proposals to allow up to 1600 new homes to be built in the West Winch and North Runcton areas, proposed in West Norfolk Council’s blueprint for housing development up to the year 2026, should not go ahead without road improvements being in place first.

The framework is currently the subject of a public consultation exercise, which runs until February 23.

But Mr Coke warned of “chaos” if homes were built before the enhanced road links are in place.

The money proposed for the Acle Straight will be drawn from the sale of county farms at Acle for housing.

Conservative Ian Mackie, who made the call, said the deal was well advanced and accepted in the area.

However, his proposal will still have to be ratified by both the policy and resources committee, which is due to meet next Monday, January 26, and the full council when the budget is set next month before it can take effect.