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Elveden estate defends its stance on A11 dualling

PUBLISHED: 06:30 08 January 2010 | UPDATED: 21:51 07 July 2010

Shaun Lowthorpe

The owners of the Elveden estate yesterday have defended their stance on A11 dualling following criticism that a delay in a public inquiry could see the scheme derailed at the last moment.

The owners of the Elveden estate yesterday have defended their stance on A11 dualling following criticism that a delay in a public inquiry could see the scheme derailed at the last moment.

Last month the Elveden estate successfully argued for more time to consider new traffic figures produced by the Highways Agency because of concerns they have about proposals for a junction to the B1112, which the Agency has argued against on safety and cost grounds.

Following the delay Norfolk County Council leader Daniel Cox and Chris Starkie, chief executive of Shaping Norfolk's Future, wrote to transport minister Sadiq Khan calling for assurances that the work to dual the final link of the road would start this year once a public inquiry was concluded.

It came amid fears that, after coming so close to getting the road built, a delay in the public inquiry could see the scheme fall because of a general election.

Questions were also raised about the estate's stance after concerns it could unwittingly torpedo the scheme.

But the estate, which supports dualling, has long argued for a junction to be built linking the road to the B1112, because of fears that failure to do so could hit the economic viability of the firm and neighbouring businesses because it could constrict any future expansion plans.

Michael Douglas, director of the Elveden Estates, said its objection was not last minute, but based on longstanding concerns about the lack of a junction, which it had first raised in 2004 and it was the delay in providing accurate information that led to the latest postponement.

“Before the commencement of the public inquiry, the only unresolved issue was the design of the B1112 junction, for which the inquiry required technical traffic flow information from the Highways Agency,” he said. “Unfortunately the initial information provided was proved to be flawed.

“The Elveden Estate has consistently supported the A11 Scheme and has cooperated fully with the Highways Agency throughout the six year scheme design and consultation period,” he added.

Lord Iveagh, chairman of Elveden Estates, who is also a board member of the East of England Development Agency said: “It's a big issue for us. I totally accept and see the wider economic picture, but this is something we have been arguing for consistently.

“It was in the original scheme, then for some reason it was taken out. In the grand scheme of things, it's only a small thing, but it's very important to us and we would be shooting ourselves in the economic foot.”

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