Call for consultation on Norwich Northern Distributor Road to be re-run
20:53 13 January 2014
A call has been made for the consultation on the Norwich Northern Distributor Road to be re-run, with the Green Party claiming the goalposts were moved in the middle of the process.
Norfolk County Council has applied to the Planning Inspectorate for a development consent order for the £148.5m road, which would stretch from the A47 at Postwick to the A1067 Fakenham Road.
But, during the consultation with the public over the road, the scheme was designated by the government as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.
And that, the Greens say, means the consultation was flawed, because the whole purpose of the road was changed. They say far more people should have been consulted.
Green county councillor Andrew Boswell said: “It is unacceptable that the purpose of the road was changed during last summer’s consultation.
“Norfolk people have been told for years that the road is intended as a local distributor road. Suddenly mid-consultation it became part of a long distance route between the Midlands, East coast and the continent which would bring much more traffic and is a completely different prospect.
“Given this much expanded role, it is totally undemocratic that the consultation continued and that people’s views were only sought in a very small area to the north of Norwich.
“I cannot see how the Planning Inspectorate can accept the consultation as legitimate, and I hope they will act by demanding that the council re-runs the consultation.”
George Nobbs, Labour leader of Norfolk County Council said: “I am very disappointed, but not surprised that Mr Boswell has said this.
“I do not think his remarks contribute anything to the economic wellbeing of the people of Norfolk. I think on this occasion Mr Boswell and his party have taken their dogma and ideology to extremes.”
The proposed 19.5km road has caused controversy. The council says it will bring a huge economic boost and connected improvements, such as a rapid bus transit, will benefit Norwich, while many businesses have backed it.
But critics say it will lead to rat-running and homes which will spring up around it will concrete over swathes of the countryside.