Norfolk County Council has been told to scrap all spending on the Norwich Western Link road and focus instead on creating controversial 20-minute neighbourhoods.

A motion has been tabled for discussion at a full meeting of the authority next week calling on it to divert resources from the proposed 3.9 mile road on the city's western outskirts towards the zones.

The government has yet to announce whether it will bankroll the bulk of the cost of the £251m Western Link Road, with Norfolk County Council on tenterhooks as to whether its business case for the project will be approved.

Amid the uncertainty, Green councillors - who have proposed the motion - are urging the switch in priorities at County Hall.

Eastern Daily Press: A visualisation of how the Western Link could lookA visualisation of how the Western Link could look (Image: Norfolk County Council)

They argue the officer time dedicated to the road, which would link the A47 with the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, should be diverted to looking into the creation of 20-minute neighbourhoods.

The Conservative-controlled county council agreed last December to investigate the setting up of such zones, but the idea became embroiled in controversy.

The concept of 20-minute neighbourhoods is that, where major development is planned, areas are designed so people living in them can get to key services, such as healthcare, schools, parks and shops selling fresh food, with no need to get in a car.

But the suggestion such neighbourhoods could be created in Norfolk sparked a backlash, with people in Thetford particularly concerned about what they thought might happen with such neighbourhoods.

Eastern Daily Press: ThetfordThetford (Image: �Coypright Mike Page, All Rights Reserved; Before any use is made of this picture, including dispaly, publication, broadcast,...)

There were claims the suggestion was part of a wider conspiracy to restrict freedom of movement and impose climate change lockdowns.

After protests in the town, senior County Hall officers and councillors, including Tory Lana Hempsall, who had first proposed the council should look into the idea, attended a specially organised meeting.

Eastern Daily Press: Lana HempsallLana Hempsall (Image: Conservative Party)

Mrs Hempsall, who is registered blind, said the current planning system encouraged urban sprawl and use of cars, because new developments were too far from town centres for people to walk to amenities.

She added: "It's not about restrictions, it's not about restricting civil liberties, it's about helping communities."

Eastern Daily Press: Protestors against the Norwich Western LinkProtestors against the Norwich Western Link (Image: Newsquest)

Jamie Osborn, Green county councillor behind the motion, said: "People need towns, cities and villages they can easily and conveniently get around without being stuck in traffic all the time.

Eastern Daily Press: Jamie OsbornJamie Osborn (Image: Jamie Osborn)

"The way to do that is to plan so places are accessible and not spending millions of pounds on a highway to nowhere."

READ MORE: What does Norfolk County Council coup mean for the region?

Mr Osborn's motion calls on the council to halt all work on the Norwich Western Link as soon as possible and rededicate officer time to developing 20-minute neighbourhood proposals and improving sustainable transport.

Eastern Daily Press: Graham PlantGraham Plant (Image: Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk)

Graham Plant, the council's cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure, has remained bullish about the chances of the Western Link getting approval and funding from the government.

Eastern Daily Press: The Western Link would connect the NDR to the A47 west of NorwichThe Western Link would connect the NDR to the A47 west of Norwich (Image: Newsquest)

He previously said: "We have submitted a strong outline business case, which clearly sets out the benefits the project will create and demonstrates that it is considered to be a high value for money project.

"We have no reason to think we won’t receive a funding commitment from central government in the near future.

"It’s important we work to progress the project, so we are in the best possible position to move forward as and when we receive a decision.

"It is not necessarily true the cost of the project will go up, this will depend on a number of factors, including the length of delay."