There seems to be something very wrong in the priorities for road-building in Norfolk, when a controversial road at Norwich is set to go ahead, while improvements to the A47 seem to be receding ever further away.
It was hardly surprising that there were howls of anger when a spokesman for Highways England revealed that the much-needed £300million programme of improvements for the A47, trumpeted so loudly and proudly by Prime Minister David Cameron last year, would not now probably be completed for another eight years.
But just to add insult to injury, now we hear that Norwich’s Northern Distributor Road, a whopping £148million scheme for a new road to the north and east of Norwich, is set for construction to start in the next few months.
This is the pet scheme of Norfolk County Council and their predominantly East Norfolk leaders, who have been hell-bent on pursing this scheme for many years, despite considerable local opposition which complains that the rural areas to the north of Norwich will be lost forever to housing and industry.
North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham has already spoken out against the delays on the A47 projects, saying that this will simply not do.
You’re darned right Henry, and you need to pursue this matter with the utmost vigour, and hopefully with the support of other Norfolk MPs along the A47 route.
After all, David Cameron is the leader of YOUR party, and if his honeyed words last autumn are now interpreted merely as cheap electioneering and empty promises in the run-up to the General Election earlier this year, then I am afraid there is a risk some of the mud is going to stick on you, mate, so you had better shout loud enough for everyone in West Norfolk to be aware that not only is it not your fault, but that you are doing something about it.
We are now 15 years into the 21st Century, and for pretty much all that time we in West Norfolk have been crying out for improvements to the A47 through our area. At the present rate of progress it seems that it will not be our children, but several generations down the line who actually see work on the A47 upgrades begin.
The hint that we might be getting improvements to the rail services in our region did bring some glimmers of hope for the future, but now all we seem to be hearing are more and more details of the struggle that Network Rail is enduring in trying to meet its current obligations, let alone future ones.
To be fair, the problem is a national one, and not just local to Norfolk. But that simply makes the prospect of any improvements even more remote. Even if Governments had the will, they don’t seem to have the money. Not a happy thought, I am sorry to say.