Concerns Norwich’s NDR could worsen ‘rat-running’

Campaigners fear the �111m road aimed at relieving Norwich's congestion could have the opposite effect, by forcing drivers through 'rat runs' in the west of the city.

The award of �86.5m in government funding for the northern distributor road (NDR) was celebrated on Wednesday by politicians and business leaders who said it would boost economic investment while easing congestion.

But, as the funded phase of the project only stretches from the A47 in the east to the A140 at Norwich Airport, opposition councillors believe it could drive more motorists through minor roads seeking routes through to the west.

Tim East, transport spokesman for the opposition Lib Dem group at Norfolk County Council, said the original concept of the NDR as a complete northern bypass was a 'far superior option, logistically and economically'.

To mitigate any effects of an incomplete link, Mr East said some of the government investment should be used to reinstate a �200,000 traffic calming scheme in Costessey, which was cut from transport budgets last year.

'We would advocate that the government looks to fund a full NDR, given the inherent diminished benefits anything short of that would provide,' he said.

'A full NDR would effectively act as a bypass for all the western parishes. Anything less will just lead to more rat-running through Taverham, Costessey and the Marlpit areas.

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'The decision to award �86.5m for half an NDR will simply exacerbate this long standing problem. Now the case for the traffic calming mitigation, which was cut due to the budget constraints along the West End, Costessey, is even more urgent and should be reinstated immediately.

'After all, �200,000 for the West End traffic calming scheme from an award of �86.5m is a mere drop in the ocean compared to the millions allocated to the NDR.'

Hilary Kisby, chairman of Drayton Parish Council, said the planned route of the NDR would make things worse for Drayton and the surrounding area.

She said: 'People are already going from the A47, coming across different ways through the countryside such as Ringland, Costessey and even Lenwade, coming along the A1067 into Taverham or Drayton and then up across the Reepham Road to the A140 and the airport.

'It's already really difficult and it's going to be just as bad if not worse for people who live in Drayton, Costessey, Taverham and even Ringland.

'There are some difficult crossings as well such as from Hall Lane to Reepham Road and Holly Lane onto the Holt Road. In two weeks there's been two accidents and it's because of heavy traffic using small roads.

'The only thing that would help us is to link the A47 and the A140.'

Taverham councillors also said they have always been concerned about the impact on traffic through the village and would have preferred the full route.

Members of Norwich's business community, meanwhile, said the NDR would bring clear logistical benefits to many companies and free up city centre routes currently struggling with congestion.

Gary Howard, chairman of the Norwich Chamber Council and director of employer partnerships at City College Norwich said: 'To assist with delivering economic growth it is vital that we provide good reliable access for businesses, for them to be able to effectively and efficiently operate.

'The NDR will vastly improve existing and future businesses' development, enabling them to flourish by avoiding the currently congested routes; resulting in increased supply of both goods and services.

'Logistics plays a vital part to many businesses and the improvements to this area would encourage businesses to grow and invest in Greater Norwich whilst improving vehicle movement on the alternative routes hence freeing up some of the more congested routes.'