Setback for A11 dualling plan

Hopes of an early dualling of the last single-carriageway stretch between Norwich and London have suffered a setback after an A11 public consultation period was extended.

Hopes of an early dualling of the last single-carriageway stretch between Norwich and London have suffered a setback after an A11 public consultation period was extended.

February 19 was meant to be the final deadline for people to lodge their comments regarding the �127m road upgrade between Thetford and Barton Mills.

But the Highways Agency has confirmed that it has extended the public consultation process for another four weeks in a bid to address some objections.

Draft orders for the nine-mile project, which would bypass Elveden village, were published in November after transport secretary Geoff Hoon gave his support to the scheme. But highways officials yesterday said that the public consultation would end on Thursday, March 19.

Roger Hawkins, Highways Agency project manager, said: 'We have decided to extend the consultation period for a further four weeks to address the objections that we have received so far.

'If this can be achieved successfully and a public inquiry avoided then construction of this long-awaited scheme could begin earlier in 2010 than currently programmed.'

Most Read

Work to dual the missing link of the A11 is scheduled to begin towards the end of next year, but could start five months earlier if a public inquiry is not required.

The agency declined to reveal the number and nature of the objections, but the concerns of local horse riders and cyclists have already been addressed with the promise of a crossing near the Elveden war monument.

South West Norfolk MP Christopher Fraser said his 'heart sank' at the indication of a delay to the A11 upgrade, but welcomed the efforts of the Highways Agency to try to avoid a public inquiry.

'My constituents have waited far too long for this vital link and every week lost is another week of hold-ups on the road. It is, however, clearly in the interests of everyone concerned that the consultation offers an appropriate opportunity to comment so that there is legal certainty about the process,' he said.

Daniel Cox, leader of Norfolk County Council, added that the local authority was watching the situation closely.

'I very much welcome the Highways Agency's attempts to address objections to the scheme without the need to go to a public inquiry. If that can be achieved by extending the consultation period, it would be unreasonable of us to complain,' he said.

The A11 draft orders and environmental statement are available at local libraries and council offices. People can send their comments to: A11 Fiveways to Thetford Improvement Scheme, Highways Agency, Woodlands, Manton Lane, Bedford MK41 7LW.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter