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Dualling A47 is no laughing matter says leading tourism figure

John Potter from Potters Resort, Hopton, Norfolk  PHOTO: Nick Butcher

John Potter from Potters Resort, Hopton, Norfolk PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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Please come and see why the A47 is seen as a joke!

The A47 leading west towards Acle.
March 2016.

Picture: James BassThe A47 leading west towards Acle. March 2016. Picture: James Bass

That is the strong message from one of the leading business figures in the Great Yarmouth area who is demanding that the government should fully dual the A47.

In the first of our series looking at how a fully dualled A47 would benefit our communities, John Potter, managing director at Potter Resort at Hopton, is backing our Just Dual It! campaign and is keen for one of the region’s pinchpoints to be tackled – the Acle Straight.

The Acle Straight is a constant source of frustration for motorists as accidents and heavy traffic, especially in the holiday season, lead to lengthy snarl ups.

Mr Potter has invited transport secretary Chris Grayling to stay at Potters so he can see at first-hand how the single lane A47 is “strangling” the region’s economy.

Cllr Trevor Wainwright, David Glason, Cllr Adrian Myers, Cllr Chris Walsh and Cllr Graham Plant with a Campaign poster to see the A47 dualled along the Acle Straight.
Picture: Nick ButcherCllr Trevor Wainwright, David Glason, Cllr Adrian Myers, Cllr Chris Walsh and Cllr Graham Plant with a Campaign poster to see the A47 dualled along the Acle Straight. Picture: Nick Butcher

And his calls for the Acle Straight to be dualled have been echoed by other businesses.

Mr Potter said: “I often hear our lovely guests arriving at Potters Resort joking about the road links into East Anglia.

“Unfortunately it’s really no joking matter as it is undoubtedly strangling our economy and restricting our ability to compete nationally on a level playing field.

“I am beginning to feel that the powers that be in Westminster also joke and laugh when we ask for dualling of our well overdue and much needed roads such as the Acle Straight to be fast-tracked.

“We certainly seem to be at the back of the queue and recent schemes have fallen woefully short of addressing the core problem of single lane access to large parts of our region.

“I welcome this campaign as clearly Westminster can’t see or hear us over here in the east.

“I would like to offer an open invitation to the transport secretary, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, to enjoy a short break with us at Potters Resort.

“The chances are he would experience first-hand what it’s like to be sat on a single lane road at the back of a queue behind a lorry being slowed by a caravan, which in turn is being slowed by

a tractor.

“I’m sure he could do with a break, but I just want to be able to say on his late arrival ‘welcome to our world Mr Grayling’.”

Mr Potter’s strong stance was also supported by Gareth Brown, chairman of the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area and who is general manager at general manager at the Haven Holiday Park at Caister.

He said: “Horrendous queues on the Acle straight can put day trippers off coming to Great Yarmouth.

“If they are only coming for a few hours, they want to spend them in the resort, not on the A47. So the road does have an impact on the area’s tourism economy.

“Dualling would definitely help but the authorities are doing the right thing by firstly improving the road network and roundabouts in Great Yarmouth itself - plus the planned third river crossing - otherwise you are just moving cars to a bottleneck more quickly.”

Henry Pettitt, partner at accountants Stephenson Smart, based at Beacon Park in Gorleston, hoped that dualling the A47 would lead to more prosperity in the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft areas.

He said: “I’m absolutely behind it from a business point of view as it comes after years of under investment in the local area. I often have the conversation with my clients about the work being imperative for business and opportunity. With continued investment, businesses in Great Yarmouth and Waveney could prosper greatly.”

Bourne Leisure, which operates several holiday parks on the east coast, is also backing our campaign.

A spokesperson for Bourne Leisure, which operates Haven and Warner Leisure Hotels, said: “Haven owns four coastal holiday parks and coupled with our two Warner Leisure Hotels.

“We are keen to support plans that benefit the local economy and we understand the importance of investing in projects, such as the expansion of the A47, which can not only enhance regional infrastructure but in turn attract more visitors to the area.”

Graham Plant, the leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, has been at the forefront of the Just Dual It! campaign.

He said: ”Great Yarmouth is England’s offshore energy capital, working internationally to capture billions of pounds of private investment for the UK, including offshore wind farms and gas platform decommissioning.

“Through increasing the capacity of the A47 trunk road, we have the opportunity to unlock the full economic potential of East Anglia.

“With £39 billion capital investment forecast in offshore energy along the east coast by 2030, Great Yarmouth is well positioned to capitalise.

“Improving the road infrastructure will also benefit our flagship tourism economy worth more than £591m annually, allowing easier access to Norfolk’s top seaside resort which boasts a rich cultural heritage.

“Better connectivity will bring huge benefits for the local economy, attract inward investment, significantly improve traffic flows, create jobs and unlock further business, regeneration and economic growth opportunities.”

he full dualling of the A47 will mean it will stretch from Peterborough to Lowestoft with four lanes of traffic.

Last year the A12 between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft was renumbered

as the A47 “to better reflect the route’s nature as a

continuous corridor”.

Mark Bee, leader of Waveney District Council, hopes dualling the A47 will help to unlock the districts’ growing economic portfolio.

He said: “We fully support this important campaign and I am delighted the EDP is galvanising support for these much needed improvements.

“We are seeing genuine economic growth in Waveney with huge investment in the offshore energy industry as well as a host of new business and retail developments.

“What we lack is elements of the infrastructure to match, and a dualled A47 would make a critical difference to the future prosperity of the area.”

The work to rename the A12 started in January 2017 and finished on March 1 that year.

HOW TO SUPPORT CAMPAIGN

People wanting to add their support to the A47 dualling campaign can pick up Just Dual It! postcards to be sent to Norfolk County Council from a number of other locations around Norfolk.

You can get them from the EDP office in Rouen Road; County Hall in Martineau Lane; Norfolk Chamber of Commerce in Whiting Road, Norwich; Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s Town Hall or West Norfolk Council’s offices in King’s Lynn.

However, unlike the ones given away with Friday’s paper, those postcards are not Freepost, so you would need to put a stamp on it, or fill it in and hand it back where you pick it up.

People can also tweet their support for the campaign using the hashtag #justdualit. If you include your full name and location in the tweet, we will transfer your message onto a postcard for you.

You can also write, outlining your experiences of using the A47 to EDP Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPletters@archant.co.uk

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