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‘It would have been devastating for us’ - Hockering residents relieved over A47 plans

PUBLISHED: 17:18 15 August 2017 | UPDATED: 20:00 15 August 2017

Hockering parish councillor Richard Hawker. Photo: Bill Smith

Hockering parish councillor Richard Hawker. Photo: Bill Smith

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Residents of Hockering, near Dereham, are breathing a sigh of relief after Highways England bosses decided against dualling the A47 through the north of the village, but concerns do remain.

The selected route for the dualling between North Tuddenham and Easton on the A47. Pic: Highways England. The selected route for the dualling between North Tuddenham and Easton on the A47. Pic: Highways England.

Parish councillors said the move would have seen the road go through Hockering playing field and destroy the village and surrounding countryside.

Highways England revealed on Monday details of its £300m improvements to six sections of the A47, which runs for 115 miles between Great Yarmouth and Peterborough.

Between North Tuddenham and Easton, the A47 will be dualled mainly along its existing route, with some re-alignment, rather than options which could have seen a new carriageway to the north or south of the current road.

Hockering parish councillor Richard Hawker said: “It’s still a bit early to tell how things will work out but we are pleased that they haven’t gone forward with the plans to go through the north of the village, which would have been devastating for us.

“Another of the options, which gladly they aren’t going through with, would have been even worse for the Tud Valley.

“They have adjusted one of the proposals to take the road further away from the houses, to ensure there would be less noise nuisance, which is very pleasing.

“We do have concerns that there is no proposed junction for the HGV route.

“Norfolk County Council and Highways England have said they are keen to work with parish councils as things progress and we look forward to meeting with them and discussing things further.”

Meanwhile, Highways England bosses said the work could all take place at the same time.

However, in the light of concerns from communities, they are considering whether it might make more sense to phase some of the work, due to start in 2020.

Highways England’s Peter Davie, the project’s leader, said: “The commitment is to start in 2020 and we can deliver it in that time frame.

“But from the feedback we have had, we need to see if that is the best way to do it, or whether we need to phase some of the work.”

Highways England is now talking to landowners who could be affected by the work.

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