Norfolk delegation highlights promising future for A47
A delegation of Members of Parliament, Council Members and others met Roads Minister, Stephen Hammond MP recently. The meeting, organised by Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, was held at the Department for Transport to discuss the future of the A47.
Mr Hammond was presented with a copy of the Gateway to Growth report, put together by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and Norfolk County Council. The delegates at the meeting presented a firm, fact based business case to show the economic benefits that government investment in the A47 can encourage.
Roads Minister Stephen Hammond said: "I recognise the importance of the A47 route and the economic benefits the improvements could bring. The Alliance has done an excellent job at pulling together the case for future investment which will be of great help in shaping and influencing our decisions on future investment in the strategic road network."
Brandon Lewis said: “I was delighted by the positive attitude from all sides during the meeting. The A47 is an excellent example of how the private and public sectors can work together to deliver jobs and economic growth to the UK. Investment in improvements to the A47 would be great news for the people of Great Yarmouth and Norfolk as a whole.”
Andy Wood, Chairman of New Anglia Enterprise Partnership: “We are delighted that the Minister acknowledges the work undertaken to date and the strategic importance of the A47. The level of impact investment will have should not be underestimated. It will be a catalyst for business growth and jobs in key sectors including energy, life sciences, engineering and tourism and will boost the economy across the region. The aim is to drive this forward in the new year to ensure we secure the investment needed to make it happen.”
Jonathan Cage, Norfolk Chamber Board Member, A47 Alliance & New Anglia LEP Transport Forum: “The Norfolk Chamber and businesses in general are fully behind the A47 Alliance initiative in bringing forward the business case for the improvement of the route. Whilst the dualling of the A11 will be a major boost to the County, the east/west links to the Midlands and the opening up of Gt Yarmouth as a gateway to Europe are equally important to business. Given the opportunity the business community of Norfolk will more than payback any investment that could be released to fund these improvements and will provide an excellent rate of return. The Ministers comments yesterday were extremely positive and we will continue to work with the County and the A47 Alliance to continue to build the business case including identifying any alternative funding.”
Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council's Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation, said: "We have been greatly heartened by our meeting with Stephen Hammond. He clearly recognises the A47 as a route of strategic importance. We know that money is extremely tight, which is why Norfolk County Council and New Anglia LEP produced a carefully considered and realistic business case for targeted improvements on the A47. It is clear that this businesslike approach impressed the Minister. The Minister says there is a strong case for the A47 to be the focus of one of the national Route Based Strategies next year. This would be a huge step forward and would have the full support of all those who want to see improvements on the A47. We will do everything we can to secure the A47's place in the Route Based Strategy process."
Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, commented: “The A47 is vital to businesses and households in Norwich. Getting it upgraded will help our economy and bring more jobs to the city. We are campaigning hard for this as part of the better transport infrastructure we need in Norfolk."
MP for Mid-Norfolk, George Freeman, said: “For too long Norfolk’s infrastructure has been neglected. The A47 has been a key artery but it’s clogged, very dangerous and too many of my constituents suffer injury and death from avoidable accidents. I greatly welcome the campaign to improve the A47 and the profound benefit it will have for my constituents.”
Norwich South MP, Simon Wright: “Improving the A47 would deliver economic growth and jobs to Norwich. It’s an important route, but one which is poor quality in parts. I was pleased to hear the Minister recognise that in his comments. There is strong cross-party political support for the A47 Alliance proposals.”
Keith Simpson, MP for Broadland commented: “We had a very positive meeting and the minister was impressed by our business plan. The A47 is now nearer being a priority for development and I look forward to working with colleagues in Norfolk and here in London to start work on this vital transport link”.
South West Norfolk MP, Elizabeth Truss: “It is good that MPs, councillors and business are working together to secure improvements to the A47. I am keen to see the Wisbech to Kings Lynn and Lynn to Swaffham sections improved. Of particular concern is Broadend Road junction which needs to be made safer and I have written to the minister on this issue. Businesses, local residents and tourism all rely on this route. The Brecks are showcasing all that there is to offer in the area and the Fens are home to some fabulous agricultural producers, plus we have superb engineering and hi tech companies that all use the A47. Earlier in the year in the House of Commons Chamber I asked the roads minister about it being upgraded to a national strategic route. I was told then that DFT is seriously examining the possibilities for the road and I will continue to press the Department for Transport on this very important issue so that we have the infrastructure in place to support future economic growth.”
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet Member for Community and Infrastructure, said: "I urged the Minister to back the campaign to improve this highly used and congested road. Improving the A47 would help boost business and future trade and therefore create jobs and prosperity for the area. Our continued efforts to lobby Government for an improved A47 shows our commitment to Fenland and runs alongside groundbreaking work on the Wisbech 2020 Vision with our local partners.
The County Council has been a member of the A47 Alliance for many years.
We will continue to push for these improvements although we recognise the difficulties of finding funding for major schemes in a tough financial climate. I would also like to praise the delegation which went to London and the work of Norfolk County Council on leading the A47 Alliance."