Government says £148.5m Norfolk road scheme ‘too complex’ for just one planning inspector

Norwich Northern Distributor Road protesters before the preliminary meeting over the planning inquiry. 
Photo by Simon Finlay. Norwich Northern Distributor Road protesters before the preliminary meeting over the planning inquiry. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Friday, July 4, 2014
7:00 AM

The inquiry to decide whether the controversial £148.5m Norwich Northern Distributor Road should go ahead is to be overseen by a panel of inspectors rather than just one.

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The panel has been appointed after communities secretary Eric Pickles decided the case was so complex and had such a high level of public interest in it that it was more appropriate for three inspectors, rather than just one to consider it.

Planning inspector Elizabeth Hill had been due to weigh up the evidence during a number of hearings this summer, before making a recommendation to the secretary of state on whether to grant a development consent order.

But now inspectors Peter Robottom, Austin Smyth and David Richards have been appointed as the examining authority to preside over the hearings into the 19.5km dual carriageway road, which Norfolk County Council wants to build from the A47 at Postwick in the east of the city to the A1067 Fakenham Road to the northwest.

The government has agreed to contribute £86.5m towards the cost and has said the scheme is of “national significance”, which has fast-tracked it through the planning system.

The road has met opposition from Friends of the Earth, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Stop Norfolk Urbanisation (SNUB) and the Green Party, who say it will increase congestion and lead to swathes of the countryside being concreted over.

They, along with the Norfolk and Norwich Transport Action Group and Hockering Parish Council, have jointed forces to produce a dossier which they say shows the flaws in the public consultation.

Among their complaints was that submissions from the Green Party, campaign group Stop Norwich Urbanisation (SNUB) and the Campaign to Protect Rural England, that their submissions over the road were lost.

That sparked an investigation at Norfolk County Council, conducted by Al Collier, head of procurement, which concluded he was “unable to arrive at a definitive view as to what happened”.

Katy Jones, branch manager of CPRE Norfolk said: “This is an astonishing catalogue of legal and procedural mistakes, mainly by Norfolk County Council, who are trying to force through the NDR on very spurious grounds.

“They are obliged to consult and then consider the views of the public and affected parties, but they have failed to do this correctly throughout the process.”

They have sent their report to the panel of planning inspectors and urge them to recommend that Mr Pickles should refuse the county council’s application.

The first of the open hearings over the road are due to take place in Norwich and Thorpe St Andrew on Tuesday, July 22, with a site visit the next day.

Norfolk County Council says the road will bring a huge economic boost and improvements, such as a rapid bus transit in Norwich.

• What do you think of the NDR? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

18 comments

  • Please cut the red tape and build the road!

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    Canary

    Saturday, July 5, 2014

  • No road relieves traffic, Stephen Strange, but they add to it. The moment roadspace is proffered, severing most other transport modes, due to these urges to 'grow and compete', head down and forward, with the same zeal as in the past with no consideration to localities, communities or the environmental impact. Nothing learned at all from past mistakes we are still copying US doughnut development planning from the 1950's, with ring roads and out of town shopping experience which will eventually denude the town centre. New roads are like freshly hung kitchen cupboards, before you can count to three, something has been stored in it. We will have to confront a multi modal truth soon, we have to look at trams co-using Network rails existing networks, its not new its an old hat and has been done for decades on the continent. As long as these tarms run through Norwich City centre, they will be viable. Such system should be build to serve the south western development hub, ideally a circle service. but central to our roads. If this means a one way Earlham road, so be it, the space is there.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • Most people on here seem to not like change but the population is rising, new houses are needed, they will be built. I don't know about you but I would rather at least some of these cars were to use the NDR rather than ad to the already congested Ring Roads

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    Odget

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • The Credulousness of some people on here just beggars belief, comparing a dead-end NDR to the southern bypass, I ask you? Then we have the usual lot citing progress, merely because they have nothing else to say.

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    Vic Sponge

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • I wish these do gooders would stop wasting peoples money complaining about digging up fields This is Progress and we so need it around here ! I agree that this road needs to be completed but it will be in another 10 years time when they see what chaos it causes in Taverham

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    chris goulding

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • Windless says "If the average planning inspector (working for a council) has an IQ of 1, then to get an average IQ of 100, then you need a 100 of them....................Simples!" Actually, it would still be an average of 1. What an ironic statement about IQ that was, Windless! What I expect to see on there though... NDR: Build it, forget the NIMBYs and non-NIMBY luddites

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    lockers

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • By now we could be living in a place where the usual mode of travel is the bicycle, with an underground rail system,a tram system,both on the ground and overground and people reclaiming the streets to walk on.Those in authority,petrolheads and car junkies,chose the alternative of killing us all to death with air pollution.The county council can't even afford the electricity to plug-in the electric cars!

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    Peter Watson

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • Windless, planning inspectors work for the Planning Inspectorate. The inspectorate is independent of local authorities, which is the whole point.

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    Red

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • There is a sect of, yes, old "Normal for Norfolk "people that will stop at nothing but to stop any sort of development in Norfolk out of fear. Fear that their house prices will be affected, fear that houses will be developed for young people that can't get on the housing ladder because of a crisis caused and continues to be stoked by their generation. You have too much time on your hands. Norwich needs to grow to compete with other cities it is at a huge disadvantage geographically already with pitiful road links. You cannot stop change and progress NIMBYS.

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    Steady On

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • you cant stop progress! people made the same comments regarding the southern bypass. Its not surrounded by houses and it reduces traffic!

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    michael

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • When the M25 was opened how long was it before it had its first traffic jam? Yes, that's right, the same day. Marigold is right on the money here. This road to nowhere is being built solely to have nasty little houses thrown up around it in their thousands. And there will be at least 2 cars per household. It is an invitation to make the traffic jams in North Norwich way way way worse. As for planning inspectors. We've had a basinful of these wallies during the King's Lynn Incinerator. They couldn't approve the planning on a chicken coop.

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    alecto

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • More Tarmac.More Urban Sprawl,More Traffic.More Accidents,just more !!

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    Albert Cooper

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • If the average planning inspector (working for a council) has an IQ of 1, then to get an average IQ of 100, then you need a 100 of them....................Simples!

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    Windless

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • Another fiasco like the Kings Lynn incinerator? Whatever happened to local democracy? Why doesn't the Council hold a referendum to decide this issue? The original idea of a northern bypass to relieve traffic congestion has now been superseded by a glorified service road to nowhere for 24000 new inhabitants with no jobs to go to.

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    Barbara

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • Hopefully it will be decided that the"Road to No Where" is a waste of money and will not proceed.Hopefully the Leaders of the Council past and present have not signed an "Incinerator Contract". National significance is a dream.

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    Norfolkman

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • How does it relieve traffic when the council plan to develop 10,000 houses (x2 cars per household) around this road, no secret? Its for development and development only. It will not assist but create a whole new breed of rat runs.

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    Marigold

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • Not being built "Purely for developers", John- get your facts right. Its being built to releive traffic pressure in nothern suburbs and provide better links- government would never have agreed to fund it otherwise. And "Complex" because there are so many processes to go through to get roads bult these days and its been under development for over 10 years.

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    Stephen Strange

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • Don't they make you laugh? "So complex" What' complex about a farcical road that goes nowhere and is being built purely for the developers? As for being a road of “National significance”, you couldn't make it up could you?

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    John L Norton

    Friday, July 4, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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