‘Chaos’ ahead - campaign warns
A road safety campaigner has warned of 'chaos' in north Norfolk this summer unless action is taken to improve a notorious junction used by holidaymakers.
John Blair spoke out at the official launch of a public appeal to help fund a new roundabout on the A148 road between Cromer and Holt, where it meets the B1436 at Felbrigg.
He revealed the campaign group Steps to Safety, which has been campaigning for improvements at the junction for the last eight years, needs just £107,000 to drive forward plans for the £552,000 project after receiving a number of pledges of support.
However, the chairman of Felbrigg Parish Council warned that Norfolk County Council, which pledged half the costs, revealed there is a danger its funding could be withdrawn unless the extra cash needed can be found by the end of March.
Mr Blair said: 'More and more people are holidaying in this area, it is a huge tourist area and that junction is the gateway, not just to Cromer but to the whole of north Norfolk and there will be chaos if this doesn't go ahead.
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'I live in the heart of Felbrigg village and not always, but quite often during the summer time in particular, the cars queue right back past my door which has got to be a good half a mile away.'
And he added: 'There is the prospect of increasing traffic all the time. The National Trust previously estimated 100,000 visitors to Felbrigg Hall and last year I think it was almost double that. And two years ago, nearby Amazona Zoo visitor numbers increased by 38 per cent, God knows that they increased by last year.'
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Campaigners have appealed to local businesses, in particular, for support. And anyone able is urged to make a pledge via the group's website - www.felbriggroundabout.com
Mr Blair said: 'We think that this is probably the first time, and it might even be nationally, that this approach has been used - asking the public or businesses of an area to support what is essentially a county responsibility. The county accept that it is their responsibility, there is nobody arguing about that, they just haven't got the money.'
And, as well as receiving thousands of letters of support, one business in North Walsham - 23 miles away - recently pledged a further £250.
Steps to Safety Campaign chairman and district councillor for Roughton and Felbrigg Sue Arnold said: said: 'A survey we carried out of local companies show they are wholeheartedly behind it. But we have been told by county hall that there is a danger of the funding being withdrawn if we can't come up with the money by the end of March.'
'There are a lot of accidents, some of them are recorded by the police because they are serious but there are an awful lot of accidents which are not recorded. One of our officers at the council was knocked off his bike by a motorist recently, his bike was wrecked by luckily he didn't suffer serious injury.
'The parishes, town council, National Trust and District Council have come up with sums of money but there is still a shortfall somewhere in the region of £107,000 so we have launched a campaign this month to meet our target.'