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Call to find new route into King's Lynn

Lynn's traffic congestion problems will not be solved without radical measures, like the building of a new route in and out of the town, a councillor has warned.

Officials have also admitted that the expected development of thousands of new homes in the town and surrounding areas will make the existing network even worse.

But they say their role is to ensure that development is focused in areas that are better placed to cope with it.

Traffic queues on Hardwick Road King's Lynn (2126977)
Traffic queues on Hardwick Road King's Lynn (2126977)

A West Norfolk Council panel meeting this week was told that work on a £300,000 study of the town's transport issues is ongoing and is due to be completed early next year.

Schemes such as the experimental new layout on London Road, which was introduced last month in an effort to address long-standing peak time congestion problems, are set to form part of the analysis.

But Thomas Smith told Tuesday's regeneration and development session that plans which only aimed to improve the existing network would not be enough.

He said the town had not seen a new road built since its bypass, while some routes were the same as they had been in "the days of the horse."

And he insisted a new route to ease the concentration of traffic through access points to the south and east is needed.

He said: "We can tinker as much as we like, but as long as all the traffic has to go through them (the existing routes) we are not going to be able to do anything majorly noticeable."

Panel members heard that data drawn from the 2011 Census suggests Lynn had a higher than average proportion of commuters coming into town by car, 61 per cent compared to a national average of 54 per cent.

Sites including London Road, Gayton Road, the Hospital Roundabout and the Hardwick interchange were identified as being among the traffic main hotspots.

But just over one in six journeys, 17 per cent, are also made through "active" travel methods, such as walking and cycling, more than twice the national average of eight per cent.

Planning officer Alan Gomm acknowledged that the expected development of several thousand new homes in Lynn and surrounding areas such as the Woottons, West Winch and Knights Hill over the next few years would increase the pressure on the transport system.

But he said: "We can try to pick places that are least worst. There's still going to be worse traffic but we need to make sure it's less worse."

The session followed an initial presentation made to councillors last month, where issues including public transport, the potential to develop park and ride facilities, the provision for pedestrians and cyclists and air quality were high on the agenda.

Panel members also raised concerns about the provision of bus services into the town, particularly from outlying areas, and the ability of important routes into Lynn to cope with demand.

Judy Collingham particularly highlighted the A149 towards Hunstanton, which she said was already experiencing an increase in use because of new housing developments around Hunstanton and Heacham.

She said: "We really need some sort of action or some sort of idea of what the solution might be."

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