Money pledged over new road which would allow 4,000 homes to be built

PUBLISHED: 12:20 02 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:45 02 September 2019

Graham Plant, Councillor. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Graham Plant, Councillor. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

A new £13.5m road, which would pave the way for 4,000 new homes, has edged nearer - after councillors agreed to pledge more than £1m towards the scheme.

Plans for new homes between West Winch and the Hardwick roundabout, near King's Lynn, have been in the pipeline for years - but the bulk of the thousands of new houses hinge on a new access road.

The road would provide a bypass route to the A10 through West Winch, aiming to limit the impact of the new homes on existing roads.

That road would cost nearly £14m, and Norfolk County Council hopes the Department for Transport (DfT) will pay for it.

But the council knows it needs to show its commitment if government cash is to be awarded, so the Conservative-controlled cabinet today agreed to pledge £1.1m towards getting the project off the ground.

That money had to be pledged, as the council is to bid for £1.1m from money raised through business rates - and that has to be match-funded.

Graham Plant, the council's deputy leader, said: "The delivery of the access road will kick start the planned housing growth in the Kings Lynn area.

"Only some 300 to 350 dwellings can come forward without the new road.

"The growth area is for 4,000 homes so delivering the road will therefore unlock 3,650 more dwellings.

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"Implementing the access road at the earliest opportunity will also demonstrate to local residents that Norfolk County Council is serious about putting the infrastructure in place first, to support planned growth across the county."

The council has to lodge its bid, which also seeks £100,000 towards Pullover roundabout improvements, by Friday, September 13.

Richard Blunt, West Norfolk council's cabinet member for development, said: "The development at West Winch is the largest strategic growth area in our borough, with approximately 4,000 new homes planned.

"We have already been working with Norfolk County Council to design and secure planning permission for this road.

"This is another example of our collaborative working with Norfolk County Council to secure money from the business rates pool to help towards funding for the housing access road.

"Along with the recent news that the regional transport body has supported these two Norfolk schemes , this latest support means we have taken two major steps towards making these schemes a reality."

If the business rates pool approves the bid, the county council's match funding would be raised through prudential borrowing and included in the capital programme.

But Alexandra Kemp, independent county councillor for Clenchwarton and King's Lynn South, said people living in the area feared hundreds of homes could be built before the road is.

She said: "There's a danger those homes are built before the road and that is not right."

In July, the new road became one of four major road projects put forward for government funding by the council.

The council hopes a planning application for the road can be submitted in early 2020/21.

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