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Push to complete ‘missing link’ on Norwich Northern Distributor Road and join it to A47 to west of city

The NDR route crossing the B1149 Holt Road and running north-west before turning to cross Reepham Road, with Thorpe Marriott on the left. Pic: Mike Page.

The NDR route crossing the B1149 Holt Road and running north-west before turning to cross Reepham Road, with Thorpe Marriott on the left. Pic: Mike Page.

www.mike-page.co.uk copyright image

Hopes have been raised that the controversial Norwich Northern Distributor Road could yet be linked to the A47 to the west of the city.

Discussions have been held with the Environment Agency and Natural England over the possibility of completing the missing link to the A47 on the £178.5m road. Neither has ruled out the possibility of an acceptable scheme being devised.

The lack of a link has been a criticism of the 12.5 mile road, which will stretch from the A47 at Postwick to the A1067 Fakenham Road.

People in places such as Costessey, Weston Longville and Ringland fear the road currently being built will lead to rat-running where they live in the absence of a proper connection from the A1067 to the A47.

And a group of councillors at Norfolk County Council has been working on reviving the missing link, previously ruled out because the cost of crossing the River Wensum – designated as a special area of conservation – was prohibitive.

Consultants Mouchel were brought in to explore possible solutions. Their report reveals discussions held with the Environment Agency and Natural England have suggested a solution, possibly a bridge crossing the Wensum Valley, could be feasible.

The report states: “A solution to the environmental issues is likely to be possible, and with sufficient mitigation and careful design, the Environment Agency believe that it would be possible to devise a crossing that they could support.”

However, they also said there is a lack of evidence to show that problems, created by the opening of the NDR, would justify such a scheme.

Councillors will be asked on Friday to agree to draw on up to £425,000 for further specialist work over the next 18 months to produce evidence.

Tim East, Liberal Democrat councillor for Costessey, who chairs the cross-party working group, said: “It is significant that the Environment Agency and Natural England have not ruled out the possibility.

“Once the three-quarter NDR is completed the pressure to finish the job will be immense and I think it will receive a lot of support.”

However, the Wensum Valley Alliance, has opposed such a link. Member Jenn Parkhouse previously said: “To even consider going further and crossing the Wensum Valley is completely unacceptable not only for financial reasons, but for environmental ones.”

What do you think? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPletters@archant.co.uk

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