West Norfolk’s roads ‘are not good enough’, minister told

GV pictures of the A47, showing the single carriageway parts of the road, between King's Lynn and Norwich.
Looking towards the McDonalds Roundabout (heading from Norwich) ANL-160703-082604009
GV pictures of the A47, showing the single carriageway parts of the road, between King's Lynn and Norwich. Looking towards the McDonalds Roundabout (heading from Norwich) ANL-160703-082604009
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West Norfolk has a long way to go before it can boast transport links fit for the 21st century, political and business leaders have warned.

The comments came after transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin claimed the county’s roads were being transformed during a visit to the county on Thursday.

GV pictures of the A47, showing the single carriageway parts of the road, between King's Lynn and Norwich.
This view taken between Middleton and East Winch. ANL-160703-082637009

GV pictures of the A47, showing the single carriageway parts of the road, between King's Lynn and Norwich. This view taken between Middleton and East Winch. ANL-160703-082637009

Mr McLoughlin toured several schemes, including several stretches of the A47 where improvements are proposed and the Northern Distributor Road around Norwich.

He claimed: “It is about time the people in Norfolk benefit from a road network fit for the 21st century and that is exactly what the government is delivering.”

But people from across West Norfolk’s political divide have criticised Mr McLoughlin’s claims.

Borough council leader Nick Daubney said he recognised that progress had been made, primarily through the completion of the A11 dual carriageway in 2014.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin

He said: “I can see what he’s saying after years of no investment at all.”

But he added: “We’re barely catching up with what the rest of the country has had for 50 years.

“We badly need the A47 dualled. I use it three, four or five times a week and it’s miserable.

“When I’m driving to London, I can’t believe I get on the kart track we call the A10 and that’s our main road to London.”

North West Norfolk Labour party secretary Jo Rust accused Mr McLoughlin of treating residents “with contempt” through his comments.

She said: “We still have people who don’t come to King’s Lynn because of our poor roads.

“King’s Lynn and West Norfolk deserve better. What we have is almost in the Dark Ages.”

But Mr McLoughlin maintained that the county’s current road improvement schemes would support the continuing drive for economic growth in Norfolk and the wider region.

He said: “Our investment will ensure faster, more reliable journeys and create thousands of new jobs and houses.”

But Caroline Williams, chief executive of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said people living and working in West Norfolk were “quite right” to question the validity of his comments.

She said: “They have made a start but there is a long, long road to travel.

“We need certainty. It’s stopping people investing in our area unless they know they can get their people and goods in and out.

Mr Daubney said: “If we’re going to have a modern, fit for purpose, 21st century economy, we need infrastructure.”