A47 - final push

Caroline Williams, Chief Executive, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

Even last year as the A47 Alliance, which includes Norfolk Chamber, discussed Norfolk’s road priorities now that the A11 is being dualled, improvements to the A47 felt very much like just a hope.

However, the Chamber business community, as always born optimists, have continued to lobby our local MPs, Government Ministers through the British Chamber of Commerce and really anyone who would listen to us.

The turning point when hope turned into a possibility was the report which the Norfolk Chamber members fed into, which quantified the economic impact the improvements to the A47 would bring.

The Gateway to Growth campaign to secure A47 upgrades identified that these could generate nearly 100,000 jobs, add £390m to the region’s economy and attract £800m of private investment. It was at that point that all the good work by the EDP, our MPs and the Norfolk business community started to impact on the Transport Minister Stephen Hammond.

We are told that no decision will be made until after the spending review in June so we need to ensure that we maintain the pressure on the Government in anyway we can. This includes lobbying Ministers both in Westminster and more importantly when they visit Norfolk. Vince Cable MP is due in Norfolk tomorrow and it is essential when he leaves Norfolk that he has a clear understanding from the business community  that improvements to the A47 are no longer a ‘nice to have’ but are necessary for Norfolk to achieve its economic growth potential.

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