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Anger over Dereham roadworks

PUBLISHED: 13:26 04 September 2008 | UPDATED: 14:41 07 July 2010

Robyn Greenacre

“Unacceptable chaos” is reigning in Dereham after road works started outside the town's biggest school just days before the new term started.

The road improvement scheme along Norwich Road and part of Crown Road will provide Neatherd High School and Dereham Sixth Form students with a cycle lane and repaired pavement.

Traffic problems described as “unacceptable chaos” are set to continue near Dereham's biggest school for about three more weeks after a £92,000 improvement scheme over-ran.

Norfolk County Council is creating a cycle path and improved pavement along Norwich Road to make journeys safer for pupils at Neatherd High School and the sixth form college.

Work started during the summer holidays but is unlikely to finish before September 26 and the new term at Neatherd has started with traffic lights outside the main entrance.

One pavement on Norwich Road used by many of the 1150 pupils as well as staff is partly closed.

Long tailbacks have built up during peak times in the mornings and afternoons and there has been delays for vehicles using the school and travelling on the main road out of the town towards Norwich.

There are 21 buses serving the school and carrying about 400 pupils.

The county council has now apologised for the delays and put extra workmen on to the project and are helping direct traffic to reduce congestion.

Recent bad weather has created further delays and the completion day for the scheme is September 26.

Town and district councillor Michael Fanthorpe said: “It's unacceptable chaos. I live on the road and find it a nightmare, so goodness knows what people who need to use it must think.

“The county council are absolutely crackers. I said the works would lead to chaos before they started.”

Neatherd High School headteacher Peter Devonish admitted the traffic delays had had “a huge impact” and had been “irritating.”

But he said senior officials had been to the school to try to help minimise problems.

The school has just created 100 new spaces for bicycles at the school.

There are plans for 50 more cycle spaces as part of a proposed new scheme at Neatherd to use land between the tennis courts and boundary fence to create 18 more parking spaces

A spokesman for the county council said: “We had to start down the road so had no choice but to be outside the school at this time. At the end of it though it will provide children with a safer way to travel to school and mean less cars will be needed.”

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