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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

£100M A47 dualling could be hindered by questions over use of Norfolk farmland

Almost 200 acres of prime farmland owned by Norfolk County Council will have to be given up to allow a multi-million-pound dualling scheme on the A47 to go ahead.

Ninety-three acres of council-owned farmland are set to be sold so dualling of the A47 between Blofield and North Burlingham can happen, with National Highways using compulsory purchase powers to buy the land.

And a further 98.5 acres would be temporarily taken over during the work to dual the 1.6-mile stretch of road.

Norfolk County Council's agents have negotiated compensation with National Highways - the government's roads company.

National Highways needs land for the new carriageway, drainage, diversions and connections, including moving a gas main.

The council's Conservative-controlled cabinet will discuss the land deal next week (June 5).

But the detail of how much County Hall will get for the land is not being revealed, with the council citing commercial sensitivity.

The land is part of the County Farms estate - more than 16,000 acres of land rented to tenant farmers.

Some farmers will lose land because of the A47 scheme, but a council spokesman said: "No whole farms are being lost, and the team working on the plans have ensured that all the tenants affected will continue to have commercially viable farms, so no tenants are being relocated or dispossessed by the disposal."

The council's constitution states the County Farms estate cannot go below 16,000 acres. Officers said it will remain above that despite the loss of the land.

Then transport secretary Grant Shapps approved the dualling scheme last year, but work is currently on hold, pending the ruling of a High Court judge.

Climate campaigner Andrew Boswell, a former Green city and county councillor challenged the legality of the decision to allow the project, along with dualling between North Tuddenham and Easton and the revamp of Thickthorn roundabout.

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