A controversial £4m revamp of one of Norwich's busiest roads has been defended by council bosses, in the face of criticism of the project.

Norfolk County Council is making major changes to Dereham Road with new bus and cycle lanes, wider pavements and crossings.

Eastern Daily Press: Labour city and county councillor Mike SandsLabour city and county councillor Mike Sands (Image: Archant)

But Mike Sands, Labour county and city councillor for Bowthorpe, got the plans "called in" to the council's scrutiny committee so the cross-party committee could take a closer look at the scheme.

Mr Sands, who has long criticised parts of the scheme, told Monday's (September 25) meeting he was against plans for new bus lanes - from Gurney Lane along Dereham Road out of the city and one into the city toward Gurney Lane.

Eastern Daily Press: Dereham Road in NorwichDereham Road in Norwich

He said: "The scheme is totally unclear about why it is needed and what it is trying to achieve.

"The general consensus of everyone in Costessey and Bowthorpe is that it is only going to add to congestion.

"It is going to create congestion, starting from the Wendene Road roundabout at least, all the way to Larkman Lane."

Mr Sands said he supported the new bicycle lane but that the overall scheme had been "poorly thought out".

He said consultation had not been good enough and added: "It's costing the best part of £4m. That would be better spent elsewhere in the city where it is needed."

The scheme is being paid for using some of the £32m Transforming Cities Fund money awarded to the county council by the Department for Transport for a string of schemes.

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

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Graham Plant, Conservative cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure, said the consultation had gone "above and beyond".

He said: "The project has clear aims. It is to improve bus journey times and reliability and to improve conditions for those walking, wheeling and cycling."

Mr Plant said traffic modelling and experience from other schemes suggested there would be "little or no impact" on general traffic.

The scrutiny committee voted to note the call-in but to take no further action around the decision.

Some of the work - including installing a new crossing - has already started.