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Budget ‘breaks promise’ to Norwich with multi-million transport fund diluted

PUBLISHED: 16:34 11 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:34 11 March 2020

Norwich had hoped to be awarded millions for transport improvements including buses. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich had hoped to be awarded millions for transport improvements including buses. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Norwich seems to have been dealt a blow in the Budget after it was told transport funding worth tens of millions will have to be shared with three other cities.

A dozen cities had been earmarked to receive cash from the Transforming Cities Fund, which stood at £1.2 billion.
Norwich was one of those cities, and the Greater Norwich area has already received £6m in the first tranche of money.

MORE: Budget 2020: How it impacts the money in Norfolk workers' pockets

Councillors are hoping to get more cash for further ventures including the expansion of Thickthorn Park and Ride and quicker buses and new transport links to Norwich Airport, the University of East Anglia and Norwich Research Park.

Council officers had submitted bids for £75m, £90m or £162m worth of projects.

However in the Budget, nine of the cities which bid were awarded millions for their bids - and a specific amount solely for Norwich was not committed.

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Instead the city will have to share £117m with Portsmouth and Stoke-on-Trent - which places a big question mark over how much Norwich will ultimately get.

And getting that cash is still subject to business case approval.

Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South, said: 'Not only is this kind of broken promise bad for our city, it's just the kind of 'say one thing, do another' stunt that turns people off politics. We had an election in December when no doubt Tory candidate were marching round saying vote for us and we'll bring x, y and back to Norfolk.

'Fewer than three months later, their government has got its feet under the table and is playing divide and rule between cities all of which need this kind of funding to have any chance at all of reducing transport carbon emissions in their areas.'

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for highways and infrastructure and chairman of the Transforming Cities Joint Committee, said: 'It's too early to say at present what this means for Norwich.

'We are encouraged that we are named in the budget announcement and will await further details from the Department for Transport.'


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