‘Blend of solutions’ needed to tackle Dickleburgh traffic concerns

Parking problems at Rectory Road and The Street in Dickleburgh.
Parking problems at Rectory Road and The Street in Dickleburgh.

Dickleburgh Parish Council says the village must work together to collect “as much evidence as possible” if the long-standing traffic issues on key roads are to improve.

Parking congestion, speeding and HGV traffic problems on Rectory Road, Harvey Lane and The Street were the hot topics at last Wednesday’s Annual Parish Meeting, with around 50 villagers present to voice their growing worries.

But several residents and councillors expressed frustration that no invited representatives from bodies such as the Norfolk County Council (NCC) Highways Authority, the Road Safety Management Team and Norfolk Police, had attended.

The parish council says it was now gathering important traffic data to help make its case for improvements, while also continuing to oppose a plan to build 22 homes in Harvey Lane.

Keith Ambrose, parish council chairman, told the Diss Express: “We are lucky that the facilities (in the village) are fantastic, but it creates issues for parking.

“We need to have concrete facts. Eventually, we have to get a proper survey. When we have got the facts, we are going to be further up the queue of getting things done.

“We genuinely would like to help alleviate these issues. The suggestions local people put forward are quite sensible.

“The one thing that will definitely make it worse is putting development on the narrowest road.”

The housing plan, submitted by Hopkins Homes Ltd and still awaiting a decision from planners, has been proposed for land north of Harvey Lane, not far from Dickleburgh Primary School — an area designated as a ‘preferred site’ under South Norfolk Council’s Local Development Plan.

However, the application has received at least 50 objections from residents, whilst the parish council is also opposed, stating there are sites in the village more appropriate for development, and that the current proposal would exacerbate existing traffic problems.

Traffic concerns from local people have intensified in recent months, particularly regarding the safety of pedestrians due to the lack of pavement on some busy stretches of road, and the width of roads making it hard for large vehicles to use.

Just last month, the Diss Express reported how a bus and a lorry had become wedged together in The Street, blocking the road for several hours.

Thelma Knowles, who lives in Mill Close, near to Rectory Road, said due to the volume of vehicles using and parking on local roads, she and many other residents were in “an extremely dangerous situation” when pulling out of their driveways.

“Rectory Road is used by children walking to and from the school,” she wrote.

“Will it take a serious accident/death before those that are in charge do something about this outrageous situation?”

One Dickleburgh parish councillor, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed Norfolk was facing a “rural road crisis” and suggested it would be difficult to make substantial progress, unless villages collectively bring issues forward to the relevant authorities.

“There are settlements like ours that have evolved over hundreds of years, not designed for modern transport,” he said.

“We recognise these limitations, so how can we make the most of it?

“Villages do need development. They need to grow. But there is also a need for people in authority to make the best use of the amenities. Ultimately, there is a blend of solutions.

“We object to the Harvey Lane site, based on the fact that this is a physically constrained lane. The more vehicles you put in, the more likely there will be an accident.”

To view the Harvey Lane housing application, please go to info.south-norfolk.gov.uk/online-applications and use the reference number 2016/0482.