‘Residents deserve better’ - Call for repairs on busy bridge near coast

Ed Maxfield, Norfolk County councillor for Mundesley, at the bridge over the North Walsham and Dilha

Ed Maxfield, Norfolk County councillor for Mundesley, at the bridge over the North Walsham and Dilham Canal at Swafield. Picture: Supplied by Ed Maxfield - Credit: Archant

Action is needed to ease growing frustrations about a bridge near the north Norfolk coast, a councillor has said.

Ed Maxfield, Norfolk County councillor for Mundesley, has called for a long-term solution to the bridge over the North Walsham and Dilham Canal at Swafield, which was damaged in February and remains unrepaired.

Mr Maxifield said there were safety issues around the bridge, which was on an increasingly busy route to the coast.

But Norfolk County Council said that while a number of accidents had occurred there, it was by no means an accident black spot.

Mr Maxfield said: “It is so frustrating that the repairs have taken so long.

“It doesn’t help that the traffic lights on the bridge have repeatedly failed leaving tailbacks, making motorists angry and causing disruption for local residents and businesses.

“When the repair work is eventually done it will not make the problem go away, though.

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“Ever since I was elected in 2017 I have been pleading with County Hall to carry out a proper review of roads and traffic in this area.”

Mr Maxfield said widening the road, installing permanent traffic lights or creating a cycle/pedestrian path between North Walsham and the coast were measures that could be considered.

He said the issue of speeding along the coast road should also be looked at.

A council spokesman said they were aware of seven accidents where someone was injured on the B1145 between North Walsham and Mundesley over the last three years, two of which occurred at Swafield Bridge.

The spokesman said: “Whilst any accident is regrettable, this does not suggest a high accident rate and, in itself, would not be a priority to investigate further.

“However, as part of the Swafield Bridge project, Norfolk County Council will explore whether the signs and lines could be enhanced to better highlight the narrow bridge to approaching drivers.”

The spokesman said repairs to the bridge were due to start on October 19 and should take two weeks.

Mr Maxfield added: “Traffic is increasing and most of my postbag as a councillor is about safety concerns on the roads between North Walsham and the coast.

“But while Norwich gets millions of pounds of investment in roads and transport it feels like we are the forgotten corner of the county.

“Other funding initiatives have come and gone but there is no sign of anything being done. Local residents deserve better.”