Plans for the £4.4m revamp of Norwich's Heartsease roundabout and a new £1.2m link road near the city's airport have been rubber-stamped, despite the abandonment of a meeting where they were due to be discussed.

Amid growing animosity between Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council over transport schemes in the city, a meeting where the two projects were due to be discussed was halted in May, when a city councillor led a walk out of his party.

Eastern Daily Press: The Heartsease roundabout in NorwichThe Heartsease roundabout in Norwich (Image: Denise Bradley)

The meeting of the Transport for Norwich advisory committee was abandoned after less than 10 minutes, after Labour city councillor Ian Stutely and fellow Labour councillors walked out and there were not enough councillors left for it to take place.

Mr Stutely had been concerned the meeting had not been set up according to agreed terms of reference and that Graham Plant, the county council's cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport was not chairing it.

Eastern Daily Press: A new link road will be built near Norwich airportA new link road will be built near Norwich airport (Image: Google Maps)

The committee had been due to make recommendations to Mr Plant, in whose hands final decisions rest, over the revamp of the Heartsease roundabout and the new link road at Norwich airport.

Eastern Daily Press: Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transportGraham Plant, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport (Image: Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk)

And Conservative Mr Plant has now used his powers to approve the schemes, even though no recommendations had been made.

Mr Plant said: "Unfortunately, the opportunity to discuss these projects at the most recent advisory committee was missed.

"Following the meeting, I wrote to the city council to advise them that we would be taking these schemes to a delegated decision and offered them an opportunity to provide further feedback.

"These schemes will help to improve safety and connectivity in key parts of the city. It’s important that we take them forward now to ensure they can be delivered as any further delay would put them at risk."

Eastern Daily Press: Norwich city council leader Mike StonardNorwich city council leader Mike Stonard (Image: Archant)

Mike Stonard, Labour leader of Norwich City Council, said he had been "content" that, without setting future precedents, Mr Plant should approve those schemes, so they could still go ahead.

But he said he was unhappy with the way the county council was dealing with city transport decisions, having ripped up a previous arrangement, in place since the 1970s, which had devolved such powers to the city council.

He said: "It is frustrating. I believe the cabinet member should be in attendance at those meetings of the advisory committee to hear the debates, to ask questions and to seek clarifications."

Mr Stonard and Mr Plant met to discuss a way forward for future decisions on Friday, but Mr Stonard said further talks would be needed.

Controversy around city transport schemes

Decision-making over the major Transport for Norwich schemes, funded by £32m of government Transforming Cities cash, has been caught up in controversy.

Last year, it emerged the Transport for Norwich Joint Committee - the forerunner of the latest committee - had followed incorrect procedures.

Councillors had voted on decisions for major schemes such as the £6.1m revamp of St Stephens Street and the £330,000 changes to Grapes Hill roundabout.

Eastern Daily Press: Work on the £6.1m revamp of St Stephens Street in NorwichWork on the £6.1m revamp of St Stephens Street in Norwich (Image: Archant)

But it turned out that, under the council's constitution, the committee did not have the power to make decisions, only to make recommendations to the county council cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure.

That prompted changes to the committee, to make clear it was only advisory, with final decisions in the hands of the cabinet member.

What are the schemes?

The changes to the Heartsease roundabout include one-lane entry and exit, along with new pedestrian and cycle crossings.

But the mooted revamp had come in for criticism from the public and Norwich Cycling Campaign over shared cycleways and footpaths.

The airport link road will be a new, quarter of a mile road, to connect Norwich Airport to the nearby Norwich Airport Industrial Estate.

It would be for buses and cyclists, with a footpath for pedestrians, and not for general traffic.