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Do you risk using a known accident blackspot? Traffic survey reveals driver choices ahead of key planning meeting

PUBLISHED: 15:38 09 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:04 09 January 2018

Police on the scene of an RTA at the A47 near Draytonhall Lane. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Police on the scene of an RTA at the A47 near Draytonhall Lane. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2013

Drivers navigating a busy market town are more likely to risk using dangerous A47 junctions than battle with town centre congestion, it has been revealed.

Traffic chaos in Dereham. Photo: Denise Bradley Traffic chaos in Dereham. Photo: Denise Bradley

Dereham Town Council has carried out a new traffic survey using, for the first time, automatic number plate recognition to accurately track vehicle movements.

It says it proves that drivers are choosing to use the A47 junctions at Fen Road and Draytonhall Lane, known accident blackspots, rather than experience the congestion around the Tavern Lane signalised junctions.

The report comes in the week before a key planning meeting at Breckland Council where members are due to determine a controversial application for nearly 300 homes on the edge of Dereham.

Planners are recommended by officers to approve the proposal by Glavenhill Strategic Land for 291 homes off Shipdham Road, Westfield Road and Westfield Lane.

The busy A47 Draytonhall Lane junction at Dereham is particularly dangerous . Picture Graham Corney. The busy A47 Draytonhall Lane junction at Dereham is particularly dangerous . Picture Graham Corney.

But Dereham Town Council and campaign group Toftwood Life Community (TLC) will argue that transport assessments have not been thorough enough and do not take into consideration the extra traffic that will be generated at dangerous and already busy junctions.

A report to planners said the applicant had been asked to provide information assessing the impact on the A47 sliproads if the South Green/Tavern Lane junction was signalised.

But Dereham Town Council says the impact will be far reaching, and Draytonhall Lane and Fen Road onto the A47 should have been considered.

Clerk Tony Needham will present the new report to the planning committee on Monday, which calls for Glavenhill to extend its transport assessment to understand the impact on all the junctions as well as the impact on journey times which could affect drivers’ route choices.

Fatal crashes in Norfolk.  Picture: Matthew Usher. Fatal crashes in Norfolk. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Mayor Hilary Bushell said: “This report clearly shows that there is a clear possibility that this development will add additional traffic movements to the Draytonhall Lane junction with the resulting increased in risks of accidents.

“It is extremely sad that there was a fatality near this junction just before Christmas, it is imperative that Breckland Council are 100pc sure that this development will not increase the risk of accidents on the A47.

“We all know that Dereham is going to see housing growth but the town council has always said that this growth should come with the right infrastructure and should not be detrimental to the quality of life for people already living in and using the town.”

Kirsty Heath, spokesman for TLC, said they were urging people to attend the meeting on Monday to show their support for the campaign against development.

She said: “We will be objecting along the same lines as before - infrastructure, traffic, sewerage, flooding, and the inadequate railway bridge. But we will also point out the fact that the landowner has promoted the land for conservation and even won an award for it but is wanting to build houses on it.”

* Do you risk the A47 rather than go through Dereham? Email kathryn.cross@archant.co.uk.

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