New call for Attleborough relief road

Calls were made this week for a southern relief road for Attleborough where 4,000 new homes are proposed as part of future expansion plans for the town.

Calls were made this week for a southern relief road for Attleborough where 4,000 new homes are proposed as part of future expansion plans for the town.

Congestion on the existing road network is already a major problem - the town centre becoming gridlocked at peak times with vehicles including articulated lorries that have to negotiate the narrow streets to access the A11.

And concerns about the lack of infrastructure to cope with such a large population explosion, and the additional traffic generated, were high on the agenda at Attleborough's annual parish assembly on Monday.

Town clerk Hilary Elias said: “The main concerns are lack of infrastructure and where the houses are going to go.

“We need a southern relief road because they are talking about planting houses to the south or the railway line. Traffic builds up when the crossing gates are closed, and we need a link from the Breckland Lodge (A11 junction) running to Bunn's Bank industrial estate.”

The town council had lobbied for the northern Besthorpe A11 junction to be upgraded when Attleborough Bypass was recently dualled, to reduce the numbers of vehicles going through the shopping centre - but the idea was rejected by the Highways Agency.

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Mrs Elias added: “It was mentioned at the annual meeting that the railings around Connaught Plain had been damaged yet again. Large vehicles cannot get round there because it is a tight bend, and it's dangerous for pedestrians and any cars that are travelling by.”

Expansion plans for Attleborough - outlined in Breckland Council's new district-wide local development framework (LDF) - went on view at an exhibition in the town last month, the proposals including another supermarket.

County council spokesman, John Birchall, said the authority has been working with Mott MacDonald to develop a land use and transport strategy for Attleborough, bearing in mind the development options being put forward by Breckland Council.

“We recognise that considerable pressure will be put on the town centre and road network whichever development options are adopted. If Breckland's preferred strategy, which would add 4,000 new homes to the town, is adopted, it is estimated that new roads and a new railway crossing would cost up to £20M.

“This would need to be largely funded by developers. The options include the possibility in the long term of a 3km southern link road connecting London Road with Station Road. Continued lobbying of the Highways Agency for the improvement of the A11 Besthorpe junction is also envisaged, if it can be shown to be good value for money.”

Concerns were also raised, at the parish assembly, that existing services, such as doctors' surgeries and schools, would be unable to cope with increased demand resulting from large scale housing development. The town also has a shortfall in sports and leisure provision that the community is keen to see addressed.