Call for safe A47 crossing amid village housebuilding boom

Easton Parish Council member Peter Milliken

Easton Parish Council member and former chairman Peter Milliken (insert) and what the Festival Park Persimmon Homes Anglia homes will look like once complete - Credit: Denise Bradley/Persimmon Homes Anglia

A man who has lived in a rapidly expanding village for most of his life has reiterated his plea for a "vital" pedestrian crossing on the A47. 

Work has started on the 890-home Persimmon Homes Anglia site, called Festival Park, off Dereham Road in Easton, after outline planning permission was granted in 2016 by South Norfolk Council.

But with workmen taking so long to break ground, Easton Parish Council member and former chairman Peter Milliken, 57, is worried the plans for a crossing from Easton to Longwater Interchange will not come to be. 

A district council spokesman said: "Before the development can come forward, the developer is required to deliver walking and cycling improvements at the Longwater Interchange which include signalled crossings on the slip roads and a widened pedestrian path across the bridge.

"There will also be enhanced walking and cycling facilities from the development to the interchange. The council is in discussions with the developer about these works."

A man in his 20s died after falling from the bridge at Longwater. Photo: Google

The bridge across the A47 between Easton and Longwater Interchange in Costessey - Credit: Google

A Persimmon Homes spokesperson said: "We are working with Norfolk County Council highways to deliver the agreed works as soon as possible.

“These highway works are significant and are linked to a wider scheme delivered by Persimmon Homes and Norfolk County Council highways. We require the council and Highways England to sign off appropriate approvals."

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Mr Milliken said the parish council would fight the district council "tooth and nail" if Persimmon put in any alteration to A47 crossing plans.

He added: "It is a vital condition. It needs to be safe. It has been years and the crossing has not been sorted.

"The Norfolk Showground wants to expand its events and activities but that means more people on foot."

Mr Milliken said the problems of highway safety around the A47 have "been pushed down the road" in the past by county and district councils.

Vince Muspratt, director of growth and economic development for the county council, said: “Norfolk County Council is continuing to work with Persimmon Homes and National Highways to bring forward these developer funded works as soon as possible."

A National Highways spokesman said it remained committed to reviewing A47 safety.