Cromer road campaigners still unhappy
Campaigners fighting to make a busy road in north Norfolk safer say plans to reduce the speed limit to 40mph are not good enough.Homeowners living along the A148 between North Norfolk District Council's offices in Cromer and the Felbrigg Road junction have been calling for a 30pmh speed limit, a footbridge over the railway line and a new roundabout for the past 18 months.
Campaigners fighting to make a busy road in north Norfolk safer say plans to reduce the speed limit to 40mph are not good enough.
Homeowners living along the A148 between North Norfolk District Council's offices in Cromer and the Felbrigg Road junction have been calling for a 30pmh speed limit, a footbridge over the railway line and a new roundabout for the past 18 months.
Now Norfolk County Council has announced plans for a public consultation which could see changes made to how fast cars can drive along the Holt Road between Cromer and Aylmerton.
The proposals suggest an extension of the current 30mph restrictions in Cromer town centre, which would end just after the district council offices, and a reduction from 50mph to 40mph through Aylmerton and between the NNDC offices and the Felbrigg junction.
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The area's parish and town councils, emergency services and the haulage association have already been asked about the plans and the formal public consultation is likely to be advertised towards the end of March.
But while the Steps for Safety campaigners admit the proposals are a sign of progress, they are angry the plans do not go far enough.
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Brian Ridd, from the group, said the cluster of 50 houses where he lives made up a residential area and should be treated like villages further along the A148 which have 30mph limits.
He said that even with a 40mph limit, cars will still hit speeds which are dangerous for Cromer-bound walkers trying to cross the bridge over the railway line - which is too narrow for a footpath.
North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, who supports the campaign, said it was time the views of the homeowners were listened to. He said: 'We have got to get over this extraordinary proposition that cars can drive fast through our communities.'
The county council said a lower limit would increase the danger because drivers would not accept it. Spokesman John Birchall said: 'This could increase the amount of overtaking, increasing the risk to other drivers and pedestrians.'
He said all the area's parish and town councils - except Cromer - were in favour of the proposed changes.
But the campaigners said the views of the homeowners along the road were not represented by those of the councils.
Mr Ridd said because the homes are divided over four different parishes - Cromer, Runton, Felbrigg and Aylmerton - the residents' collective voice had been lost.
Last night the county council offered reassurance that their opinions would be taken into consideration as part of the public consultation. Mr Birchall said: 'This is the stage when anybody can make comments either for or against and the local residents are key to this process.'
The campaigners are also fighting for a footbridge over the railway line and a roundabout at the Felbrigg Road junction. The council said they would cost a total of �800,000 to build and funding was not available.
Another stretch of the A148 has been highlighted by police as one of Norfolk's worst accident blackspots.
There have been five crashes at the junction of the Holt Road and the B1157 at Upper Sheringham in the last 12 months.
Only two parts of the county can beat that tally - the A47 junction with Sandy Lane, Church Lane and the old A47 layby at Tuddenham, which has seen seven accidents, and the junction of Reepham Road and Drayton at Drayton which has had six.
Norfolk Police, who released the figures, said the majority of the crashes had been caused by poor concentration by drivers.
Although the proposals for changes to speed limits on parts of the A148 do not include this junction, Norfolk County Council said its Traffic Safety Team may look at the site.