West Norfolk communities ‘neglected’ over crossing cash, says councillor

Alexandra Kemp ENGANL00120131028142036
Alexandra Kemp ENGANL00120131028142036
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Communities in West Norfolk are being “neglected” because of the lack of money made available for road crossing schemes, a councillor has claimed.

Residents in West Lynn and Terrington St Clement have spent much of the last year campaigning and fundraising to build crossings which Norfolk County Council has refused to fund.

They say they cannot justify the necessary investment, thought to be around £100,000 in total, because of low accident records at the sites.

But, despite warnings of an even tighter funding squeeze, Alexandra Kemp, whose division includes West Lynn, has demanded a re-think.

She said: “I cannot support the wilful neglect of the County Council’s statutory duties to provide road crossings in places like West Lynn.”

The issue of providing safe crossing points came into focus in October last year when a teenage girl was injured in a collision with a car near the entrance to the Poppyfields estate in West Lynn.

Since then, Miss Kemp has been supporting local residents’ attempts to raise funds towards the estimated £50,000 needed for the measure.

A similar campaign was launched in Terrington St Clement in May because of concerns for the safety of children going to and from the village’s two schools in Churchgate Way.

A total of £500,000 was set aside for road safety schemes in the county council’s budget for the current financial year.

That has been split between 15 schemes in locations which officials term collision “cluster sites.”

The West Lynn and Terrington sites are both on a “long list” of schemes with a lower priority for funding.

And the prospect of public money being spent at either site is looking even more distant as officials warn the available pot is likely to be cut by 20 per cent, to £400,000, when the council sets its budget for the next financial year.

A spokesman said: “With regard to the long list schemes, they are all either unaffordable within the current budget or do not provide sufficient financial return in terms of accident reduction to be justified.”

But Miss Kemp says the authority’s priorities are wrong and more should be done to pursue other funding sources.

A resolution calling for officers to seek alternative funding streams was passed by the council’s environment, development and transport committee last November.