December 9 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 13, 2013
Members of Norwich City Council’s cabinet have agreed to formally endorse the Northern Distributor Road as part of a consultation process into the controversial scheme.
The £148.5m scheme, which will see the 19.5km road stretch from the A47 at Postwick to the A1067 Fakenham Road, has been ruled by the government as a scheme of national importance and should now be fast-tracked through the planning process despite being the subject of an ongoing consultation.
As part of Norfolk County Council’s consultation, which is due to finish later this month, Norwich City Council was asked for its formal comments on the proposal.
The city council’s cabinet met to agree its formal comments and underlined its support for the NDR as an important part of the Norwich Area Transport Strategy (NATS) – despite a warning from one member that a third of city councillors were opposed to the scheme. Mike Stonard, cabinet member for environment, development and transport, said the council’s current position on the NDR was “not a departure from what we’ve said before, which is to support the NDR as part of the Norwich Area Transport Strategy”.
Mr Stonard, a city councillor for Catton Grove ward, said it was “very important” that the NDR was seen as “part of a much wider package of improvements aimed at achieving sustainable transport in the city”. He added that the road was “vital” and “integral” to the council’s transport strategy and was therefore “important we show support in that context” to ensure the council gained all the traffic management benefits for the city.
But Claire Stephenson, a Green city councillor for Nelson ward, said that “at least a third of city councillors” had objections to the proposal. She said it was still unclear what the proposal actually was but said one of the things it would do was “make life much harder” for people who wanted to walk or cycle.
She said she did not think it was “vital or integral to the Norwich Area Transport Strategy” and added that “it will just prevent people from moving freely from the city into the countryside.”
Brenda Arthur, city council leader, revealed she had received some “vile” emails about the NDR and said that while she understood feelings might run high, she urged people to make their feelings known in a more constructive manner.