West Norfolk MP welcomes government’s A47 cash pledge

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Cash for improvements to the A47 is good news for West Norfolk even if none of the money is actually spent here, North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham has insisted.

On Monday, prime minister David Cameron announced plans for a £15 billion upgrade of more than 100 pinchpoints on the road network, making specific reference to the A47.

But, despite suggestions the investment is likely to focus on areas well outside West Norfolk, Mr Bellingham maintains that any investment in the route will benefit the borough.

He said: “It’s obviously very good news that the prime minister is on the same page as the local MPs.

“The MPs all along the route have been working together and I think the key is we get some positive announcement for investment within a definite timescale.”

More details of the government’s plans, which cover the period between 2015 and 2020, are expected to be revealed in chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement on December 3.

And the A47 appears to be one of three routes set to win substantial investment, along with the A303 in the south-west and the A1 to the north of Newcastle.

However, proposed improvement schemes in West Norfolk were left off a list of potential candidates for funding after talks with government officials in the summer.

And national press reports this week have suggested the spending will be focused on areas where marginal seats are due to be contested at next year’s general election, including Peterborough, Norwich and Yarmouth.

Mr Bellingham said: “Obviously I would love to see something in my constituency, but we need money along the whole route.

“If they think the stretch around Guyhirn is more important, then I think we have got to go with that.

“What we have got to do is get the road up to dual carriageway standard across the whole length. We need to start on this programme as soon as possible.”