Norfolk political leaders urge Government to commit to A47 dualling
Norfolk's political leaders have urged the government to invest in the full dualling of the A47 in a letter citing a need for the “levelling-up agenda” in East Anglia.
News the long-awaited project was not set to be included in the next wave of road schemes funded by Highways England was met with anger in the county last month.
And last week MPs told of a “no-holds barred” meeting with roads minister Baroness Charlotte Vere over the outcry.
Now councillors have written to the government to urge Treasury ministers to include the project in the terms of a one-year spending review expected on November 25.
The government has scrapped a multi-review of its budgets due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In the letter, Martin Wilby, chairman of the pressure group the A47 Alliance, said there was “strong evidence” the dualling of the road would contribute to the government’s objectives.
Councillors said the upgrade would “unlock the 125,000 houses and 75,000 jobs planned along the A47”, create an additional £330m in value and generate more than £200m in enhanced productivity.
The letter, which was sent to Baroness Vere and transport secretary Grant Shapps this week, stated that “in the light of challenges… these schemes are even more important than ever”.
It said: “They contribute to the levelling-up agenda by improving access and connectivity to the coast, providing an opportunity to level-up the economic and social disparity being experienced by many coastal areas in the east.
“The impacts of Covid-19 have been disproportionate on tourism and hospitality, a key sector in the economy of the A47 area.
“Investment to improve connectivity would signal confidence in economic recovery and overcome one of the main barriers to accessing tourism hot-spots in the region.”
The letter also highlighted the “nationally important energy sector sited off the eastern coast”.
And councillors described the one-year spending review as an “opportunity for government to confirm investment into the A47”.
They added: “We consider that investment into one or more of the A47 Alliance priorities would be a good fit given government’s agenda and Rishi Sunak’s statement outlining that the spending review would focus on three areas including investing in “infrastructure to deliver our ambitious plans to unite and level up the country”.”
One of the alliance's current short-term priorities, covering the next five years, is dualling of the section between Tilney All Saints and East Winch, including the Hardwick flyover at Lynn.