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West Norfolk Council deputy leader Jim Moriarty’s failure to cross A10 at West Winch highlights ‘very serious issue’





A top councillor’s failure to cross the A10 by foot has highlighted the “very serious issue” villagers have when trying to reach their nearest bus stop.

It is one of Norfolk’s major trunk roads and known to be among the busiest in the county.

And for residents living nearby, the constant stream of traffic has made it “near impossible” to reach the other side to catch the bus into town.

West Winch villagers, pictured at a protest last August, continue to call for a new pedestrian crossing on the A10. Pictures: Ian Burt
West Winch villagers, pictured at a protest last August, continue to call for a new pedestrian crossing on the A10. Pictures: Ian Burt

Villagers in West Winch are desperate for a pedestrian crossing to be built to allow them to safely cross the A10.

The road is one of the main routes to reach Lynn from the south.

A recent visit by Cllr Jim Moriarty, the deputy leader of West Norfolk Council, laid bare the challenges faced by residents after he waited five minutes for a safe opportunity to cross before eventually giving up.

Cars passed by protestors on the A10 back in August. Pictures: Ian Burt
Cars passed by protestors on the A10 back in August. Pictures: Ian Burt

He made the visit after members of the council were challenged to see for themselves how difficult it is to cross by frustrated villager Patricia Field.

Cllr Moriarty said: “This is a very serious issue. I walked up and down the A10 trying to cross to experience myself the challenges faced by people.

“I’m a reasonably fit person in his 60s and it was very difficult. I can only imagine the challenges faced by those who are visually impaired or have mobility issues.

“I absolutely understand their frustrations.”

Cllr Alex Kemp (left) joined the protestors in August. Pictures: Ian Burt
Cllr Alex Kemp (left) joined the protestors in August. Pictures: Ian Burt

Villagers took part in a peaceful demonstration along the busy road back in August, with many who live at the East View Park Homes retirement properties – including Ms Field – among them.

They say that when returning home from Lynn on a bus, they are forced into crossing the A road without any traffic calming measures in place.

Some fear the situation will get worse if thousands of homes earmarked for West Winch are built before the infrastructure is in place to cope with the likely increase in traffic.

Norfolk County Council says it is looking into the possibility of a new crossing. Pictures: Ian Burt
Norfolk County Council says it is looking into the possibility of a new crossing. Pictures: Ian Burt

However, the borough council has previously warned that working against the original 300 homes being put up without a road in place could result in exactly that happening.

Despite that, the issue has spurred locals to protest against the Hopkins Homes development being constructed before funding for a new link road – from the A10 to the A47 – has been secured.

Ms Field, who is in her 70s, thinks that the A10 will become the “country’s largest car park” if the new access road is not built before people move into the new homes.

But protestors have been told they will have to wait until funding is sourced for the new road, which could come via Section 106 payments gained through the huge 4,000 home development planned for the area.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “We are aware of the concerns that have been raised by local residents and we are exploring options for a new crossing at the northern end of the existing A10 in West Winch.

“We are working closely with the borough council to deliver the West Winch Housing Access Road as soon as possible with construction projected to start as early as next year, subject to the necessary approvals.

“This will provide the opportunity to introduce a range of measures along the existing A10 as it passes through the village, which will help to improve safety and living conditions for local people.

“This could include the introduction of vehicle weight limits, new crossings, traffic calming measures and reduced speed limits.”

The county council says it has made significant progress with the access road project, and a business case was handed to the Government in the autumn with a planning application put in at the end of last year.

However, Cllr Alexandra Kemp, who has been campaigning on the issue, feels this is too late.

“The A10 can’t cope currently and people need a crossing now – this is essential,” she said.

“We need to put people first. There are already safety issues and these new homes will only make it worse.”

Cllr Moriarty said he would continue to put pressure on the relevant authorities to ensure a crossing is built, but acknowledged the funding for this will only be available once planning permission for the first tranche of housing – about 300 homes initially – is approved.

For now, some people are choosing to walk up the road to find a safe place to cross before returning to the bus stop opposite their homes – about a 20-minute journey in all.



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