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Norwich Research Park expansion plans welcomed by leaders, but reassurances sought over transport links

PUBLISHED: 21:20 23 April 2012 | UPDATED: 21:21 23 April 2012

David Prior, chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at the unveiling of the Norwich Research Park exhibition.

David Prior, chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at the unveiling of the Norwich Research Park exhibition.

Archant

A blueprint to develop the Norwich Research Park which could create 5,000 jobs in the region were welcomed by local leaders as the full extent of the plans were revealed.

Upgrades to the park’s IT infrastructure and road network and new flagship buildings – known as “Project 26” – could kickstart the rapid development of the park as a place to do business.

But concerns were voiced by representatives from a local parish - invited to a special launch event at the University of East Anglia Sportspark - about the width of a road which will become a new entrance and the environmental impact of the development.

Last year the research park was awarded £26m by the government to make it an attractive location for commercial and other organisations. Plans have yet to be submitted to South Norfolk Council for the development and the public are urged to go along to consultation sessions at the Sportspark this week and have their say.

Chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership Andy Wood said the life sciences and bio technology sector was a key strength for our region. “The Norwich research park is an integral part of this, the plans being developed under Project 26 are very significant and we support them.”

But Hethersett Parish Council planning committee member Chris Morriss said he was concerned about the infrastructure with plans to build at least 12,000 houses.

“They tend to want to build the houses before the infrastructure.”

He said that he wanted to see Hethersett Lane - which, under the plans, will provide a new entrance to the park - widened so it could accommodate two lorries.

“It is not wide enough. As long as that is done we have no objections,” he said.

He added: “I am delighted to see, what is a place of European impact, is cashing in on its importance. It’s good for the city and good for the county. I just hope that the infrastructure matches it coming forward.” Anne Edwards of Hethersett Environment Action Team said she was worried about the lack of cycle paths in the plans and the destruction of the green spaces. “There is a lot of wildlife” she said. “I also wonder what is coming in to the buildings. They are building them, but is anybody ready to go into the buildings.” Do you have a business story? Contact reporter Annabelle Dickson at annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk

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