'You need to get it right or you're going to regret it if you don't' - Urgent calls to tackle town's gridlocked traffic
PUBLISHED: 15:00 06 June 2018 | UPDATED: 15:23 06 June 2018
Communities in a mid-Norfolk town have issued a rallying cry to get its "dangerous" transport infrastructure right before it is too late.
It comes following a meeting at Breckland Council offices regarding housing site allocations in Dereham.
Led by Jonathan Manning, a senior planning inspector, the meeting was one in a series being held over a seven week period to discuss the council’s Emerging Local Plan and to allow residents to examine the draft.
Breckland Local Plan was submitted for examination on November 30 last year and Mr Manning was appointed by the Secretary of State to carry out an independent examination.
National policy dictates that local planning authorities should produce a single local plan, which Breckland is currently in the process of doing, that will run until 2036.
Today’s meeting was quickly dominated by concerns regarding the future of the market town’s transport infrastructure with residents describing long tailbacks during peak times, chaos as vehicles become stuck in the middle of the road trying to join the A47 bypass, and fears over access for emergency services.
Valerie Baker, from Toftwood Community Life, said: “It’s so dangerous. Those of us in Dereham known the problem points and avoid them like the plague.
“You need to get it right or you’re going to regret it if you don’t.”
She also reminded participants about recent fatalities, including that of 47-year-old Mark Rodwell, of Doncaster, who died in February after a collision involving two lorries at an accident black spot on the A47 at Scarning.
“It’s terrible for the town, all those involved, and it’s affecting it too much.”
Dereham resident Philip Morton added: “We need to look further into the future to make plans for the traffic problems, not just to mitigate them.”
Anthony Needham, Dereham Town Council clerk, also raised concerns over the methodology used to compile the evidence and results of traffic surveys carried out for the Local Plan. But council planning officers confirmed that even with the Local Plan, transport would still have to be looked at in regards to future planning applications being submitted.
Sarah Roberston, senior planning policy officer at Breckland Council, said: “The transport study is still robust evidence for the neighbourhood plan. There are solutions available and mechanisms to mitigate the problems.”