March 9 2014 Latest news:
By John Elworthy
Monday, February 11, 2013
A WISBECH councillor has accused Cambridgeshire County Council of a “degree of smoke and mirrors” over the campaign to improve the A47.
Councillor Virginia Bucknor claimed that at a recent meeting with Government ministers and officials to debate the issue there was little involvement from Cambridgeshire.
She raised the A47 with MP Steve Barclay last December who “would like to support but had seen no substantive proposals”.
Cllr Bucknor has released an email from county councillor Ian Bates, the Cabinet member for growth and planning, who attended the pre Christmas meeting in London with the Minister Stephen Hammond.
Cllr Bates told her: “It was a fairly short meeting, with Norfolk County Council leading, and they had produced a Gateway to Growth document. This puts the case for the A47 from Great Yarmouth all the way through to the Cambs/Norfolk border.
“As I am sure you will appreciate, it then enters Cambridgeshire and it is equally important for us that this road be improved. There were no time-scales mentioned, as this would be a long term project.”
Cllr Bucknor said: “We’ve actually got to get past talking. We should have solid plans in place in readiness for the economic turnaround. “Now is the time to plan for the future.”
She said at the recent launch of the 20/20 Vision Cllr Bates said the A47 would not even be considered “by 2050”.
“Companies logistically need good transport routes,” said Cllr Bucknor. “With no railway station we need good road infrastructure.”
Councillor Vivienne Spikings, an Upwell member on West Norfolk council and vice chairman of the A47 Alliance said they had presented the Government with a “robust, economic business case.”
Councillor Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council Cabinet member for planning and transportation, and chairman of the A47 Alliance, said: “In the long run, we still want to see the road duelled throughout, but the case for early, targeted improvements is very strong”.
Councillor Nick Clarke, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said a summit of leaders and planners on the A14 last week “also helped us look at supporting each other in other transport schemes across the region, such as the A47.”