Election 2015 England

Great Yarmouth election call to improve A47 road

Great Yarmouth from the air (Photo: Mike Page) Image copyright Mike Page
Image caption Andy Penman, group managing director of Great Yarmouth oil and gas firm Conductor Installation Services, has called for A47 improvements

Poor transport links to Great Yarmouth have driven firms away from the town and are a key election issue, a business leader has told the BBC.

Andy Penman, of Great Yarmouth firm Conductor Installation Services, called for work to improve the A47.

Mr Penman, a representative on the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said dualling the A47 would be "top of the list for all businesses" in the town.

He said some oil firms had moved out partly due to the poor road links.

Group managing director Mr Penman said investment in the A47 and better transport links would also help tourism in the town.

Image caption Tourism would also be boosted by an improved A47, said Mr Penman

In December the government announced a series of spending plans which included a £300m scheme to upgrade the east-west connection to Norfolk, by making sections of the A47 a dual carriageway and improving its connections to the A1 and A11.

Conservative candidate for Great Yarmouth Brandon Lewis, who won the seat in 2010, praised the government for its work on dualling the A11 and its pledge to dual sections of the A47.

"We are saying the money is committed. Labour are not saying this, they will have a transport commission to look at it," he said.

"The commitment to invest in the road will really attract companies to Great Yarmouth."

Labour candidate Lara Norris said: "Transport and infrastructure are really holding back the local economy and the need to see more jobs is one of my biggest pledges."

She said Labour was committed to "honour" the government A47 spending pledge and would also be reviewing roads policy with a transport commission.

Ms Norris said she had met local transport groups to look at how to remedy the "significant gaps in bus and train links" to Great Yarmouth.

UKIP candidate Alan Grey said the A47 "needs to be dualled - it's 50 years overdue".

Image caption Mr Penman said businesses had been forced to relocate due to the town's poor transport links

He said delays on single lane stretches of the road are "strangling the town, without a doubt".

"It means that we can't attract business. We also need to improve roads across Great Yarmouth and look at a third river crossing," he added.

Harry Webb, Green Party candidate, said: "Our transport policy is about restructuring our transport systems by taking control of trains so everyone benefits. with better and more services."

He said it was vital that bus services were made more reliable.

On the plans to dual the A47, Mr Webb said: "I think it is anything like that is OK to a certain extent but there should be far more public consultation."

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