Mayor Palmer backs ‘Just Dual It’ lobby for A47 and claims it ‘beggars belief’ that it still remains single carriageway in many areas

PUBLISHED: 15:36 14 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:36 14 May 2018

A47 Alliance Chairman Martin Wilby (front) with members of the alliance on the steps of County Hall in Norwich including (front row, left to right): Alison Thomas, Deputy Leader of Norfolk County Council; George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk; James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough; Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk; and Nova Fairbank, Public Affairs Manager for Norfolk Chamber of Commerce. PHOTO: Norfolk County Council.

A47 Alliance Chairman Martin Wilby (front) with members of the alliance on the steps of County Hall in Norwich including (front row, left to right): Alison Thomas, Deputy Leader of Norfolk County Council; George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk; James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough; Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk; and Nova Fairbank, Public Affairs Manager for Norfolk Chamber of Commerce. PHOTO: Norfolk County Council.

Norfolk County Council

Mayor James Palmer re-iterated his opinion that “it beggars belief” that much of the A47 remains single carriageway.

And he’s backed a ‘Just Dual It’ to get a dual carriageway along the whole of the A47 as quickly as possible.

“Big regional campaigns like Just Dual It! really do make a difference to decision makers in Whitehall and I stand ready to make the case for dualling the A47 as loud and as clear as possible on behalf of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough,” he said.

Mayor Palmer attended his first meeting of the A47 Alliance and the Just Dual It campaign in Norwich on Friday.

“It frankly beggars belief that in the 21st century this essential trunk road which joins two major urban areas in Norwich and Peterborough is single carriageway for the majority of the route,” he said.

Under investment was holding back growth and commissioning a business case for the A47 was one of his first actions as mayor.

The combined authority report is out next month and Mayor Palmer said he would then seek talks with Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan.

Members of the A47 Alliance came together at County Hall in Norwich to discuss ongoing efforts to convince the government to invest in the road.

The Just Dual It! campaign, which is being led by Norfolk County Council, our sister title the Eastern Daily Press and Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, is calling on the government to commit to make funding available to dual the entire length of the A47 by 2030.

Representatives heard updates on the campaign from Martin Wilby, chairman of the A47 Alliance and Norfolk County Councillor, George Freeman, MP for Mid-Norfolk, and James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Mr Palmer said: “Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is not an island. The boundary is an illusion - it’s only politicians really that speak about boundaries.”

Attendees agreed that the best course of action was not to place all hope in Highways England, but to directly lobby the government, an event which will take place this summer.

Mr Freeman said: “Either give us the money or give us the freedom to raise the money but don’t promise it in 20 years.”

It was agreed that the best way of making an argument for dualisation was to point out the economic possibilities of a more connected East Anglia, and to encourage businesses to support the campaign.

Mr Freeman said: “I think there is a powerful argument in economic growth.

“If we get the top 100 businesses in the region to support us we can say it’s not just public agencies it’s businesses that want this.”

Mr Palmer said that he would not have trouble finding investors to fund the dualisation, but that convincing the government will be the difficult part.

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