Barnham Broom’s thoughts on Norwich Western Link

For some, the Norwich Western Link is a much-needed initiative that will cut journey times and ease the rat race, but, as local democracy journalist George Thompson has discovered, for those who oppose the route, it is a costly undertaking that will lead to the destruction of the natural environment.

Dozens of residents of Barnham Broom and further afield gathered in the village hall as a public consultation on the controversial £250million Western Link began.

Throughout Friday’s event, hundreds of people lined the hall to question Norfolk County Council officials, some leaving happy, others frustrated.

The proposed 3.9 mile route runs from the A1067 Fakenham road to the A47 at Honingham, including a viaduct over the River Wensum.

The county council also promised a series of mitigation measures to help local villages, including road closures and changed speed limits.

One area that worried many attendees was the closure of Barnham Broom Road – just south of where the road would join the A47 at new roundabouts – which runs from Norwich Road to Wymondham, and would only be open to access properties.

The county council said the change could remove up to 1,000 vehicle movements per day from the road.

But it left Kimberley locals Derek Cole and Alan Westron with unanswered questions.

Mr Cole and Mr Westron argued that traffic following the road would eventually pass through their area before turning onto Tuttles Lane West. Maybe add a thousand more vehicles.

Derek Cole and Alan Westron
– Credit: George Thompson

“That’s 1,000 cars that will have to go somewhere,” Mr Cole said. “They can’t explain where these cars go. This will add traffic to the road.”

While Elizabeth Glazier, who lives down the road, proposed the closure, said she supported the proposal, she did not trust the figures quoted by the council.

“I love it – it would be quiet for me and I could get out of my car. So from a selfish point of view it would be great but I don’t know how it will work out and I don’t trust those numbers at all.

Elizabeth Glazier

Elizabeth Glazier
– Credit: George Thompson

While the council says there are currently around 800 cars on Barnham Broom Road a day, Ms Glazier said the number was much higher after counting 40 cars in 10 minutes.

Kathryn Cross strongly criticized the closure, saying it would make it “almost impossible” to exit Barnham Broom Road.

“The plans will add even more traffic to Tuttles Lane. I want to know if there is a program like this elsewhere and if it worked.”

Ms Cross, owner of Center Paws, a dog exercise ground and cafe, said she was told there would be roadside surveillance, but it was unclear how it worked.

“If someone visits us, it’s for access, but how does monitoring all of this work? What if someone doesn’t use it for access?

“We won’t have any customers – we need signs that businesses are open as a minimum.”

Bob Harris, another resident of Barnham Broom, also raised concerns about the closure.

Bob Harris

Bob Harris
– Credit: George Thompson

“We go to Wymondham quite regularly, it’s a safer way to go,” he said.

“The way they propose is more difficult, longer and more dangerous.

“How are they going to do the police? They don’t seem to know that.”

However, not everyone was concerned about the closure.

A Bell Road resident, who asked not to be named, said she fully supported the plan.

“I don’t see why it would be negative,” she said.

“The point is, it will take us two more miles there and two more miles to Wymondham. It’s not much longer. Everyone is in a hoohaa.”

Old Costessey’s Mark Lusher was also fully supportive of the plan.

He said: “We live in Old Costessey which is a rat race, if this were done it would make our lives a whole lot better.

“I also think there’s been a lot of discussion about heritage and the damage done and the impact on our children.

“I see it differently – if they’re facing an orbital route, I’d be rather embarrassed to say it’s not over.

“Where we live is a conservation area, we are happy with the measures taken to protect the ecology.”

. Reflections Barnham Broom on Norwich Western Link

. Barnham Brooms thoughts Norwich Western Link

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