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Roads across Norfolk will miss out pothole repair and other work because of overspend on NDR

PUBLISHED: 10:52 13 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:52 13 January 2018

Parts of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road are open, but the project has gone over budget. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Parts of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road are open, but the project has gone over budget. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

Roads across Norfolk will miss out on pothole repair and other work because £12m of a £20m fund is being swallowed up by the soaring cost of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road.

Martin Wilby, chairman of Norfolk County Council's environment, development and transport committee. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Martin Wilby, chairman of Norfolk County Council's environment, development and transport committee. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

The Conservative manifesto for the county council elections last May pledged the extra £20m for highways repairs over four years for “targeting potholes and small works of local concern, and strengthening the standard of our highways”.

But, at a meeting next week, councillors will be asked to use £12m of the £20m to cover the overspend for the 12.5-mile NDR.

The bill for the road, which will stretch from the A1067 Fakenham Road to the A47 at Postwick, is estimated to be at least £205m.

The council had already allocated £7.3m from capital projects and dipped into cash balances for the other £12m. But councillors will be asked to agree on Monday to replace that £12m with some of the £20m for other road schemes.

Martin Wilby, chairman of the environment, development and transport committee, said: “Of the £20m, we always said we would put some of it to major projects, and the NDR is certainly a major project.

“There’s still £8m after that which we are going to use and it will make a huge difference.”

That £8m will go to various projects, including a £2m pot split between the council’s 84 members to use as they choose on local projects.

There will be £100,000 for the council’s parish partnerships scheme - where the council provides money for small improvements if town and parish councils match fund it.

Another £2m will go on special studies and improvements to help five market towns - Dereham, Long Stratton, Thetford, North Walsham and Swaffham - cope with planned new homes.

Of the rest, £2.8m will be used for junction improvements and £800,000 on footways and crossings. A further £200,000 will go towards public rights of way.

But Steve Morphew, leader of the opposition Labour group, said: “It’s fair to say that they have got an awful lot of explaining to do and they’ve also got other cuts proposed, such as to gritting and bus subsidies.

“This looks like another case of smoke and mirrors around a budget which is already starting to fray at the edges.”
Next week will also see the committee asked to agree to spend £135m over two years on highways projects.

Those projects include the Third River Crossing at Great Yarmouth, changes to Dereham Road and Longwater Lane in Costessey, changes to Newmarket Road and Leopold Road in Norwich and a roundabout for Thetford Enterprise Park.

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