The leader of Norfolk County Council has said she expects there will be a legal challenge against the Norwich Western Link road - but urged those considering such action to reconsider.

Kay Mason Billig's comments came as councillors rejected a call to put the controversial scheme on ice until the government has confirmed how much money it will award the road.

The government approved Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council's outline business case for the 3.9-mile road, which would connect the Northern Distributor Road to the A47 west of Norwich, in October.

Eastern Daily Press: A visualisation of the Norwich Western LinkA visualisation of the Norwich Western Link (Image: Newsquest)

The government agreed to provide 85pc of the previously estimated cost of the road -  £213m, although civil servants had left the door open to potentially provide £251m, using money 'saved' by cancelling the northern leg of the HS2 rail route.

Some opposition councillors are concerned about the financial risks, with the authority likely to have to borrow or dip into reserves to make up the shortfall, while the estimated cost of the scheme has now risen to £274m.

And, at a recent meeting of the full county council, Labour proposed that all spending on the project should be paused, until it becomes clear how much the government will give.

Eastern Daily Press: Conservative county councillor Stuart ClancyConservative county councillor Stuart Clancy (Image: Norfolk Conservatives)

However, Conservative councillor Stuart Clancy hit out at the "inertia" and "delaying tactics" of the road's detractors, saying the administration needed to build it to boost the economy and stop rat-running in villages to the west of the city.

The council is due to submit plans for the scheme to its own planning committee in the coming months, but there has been speculation that there could be potential legal challenges.

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Eastern Daily Press: Kay Mason Billig, leader of Norfolk County CouncilKay Mason Billig, leader of Norfolk County Council (Image: Norfolk County Council)

Kay Mason Billig, the council's leader, said: "What I will suggest is that the legal challenges which, we will, no doubt, face over this road, perhaps should not happen because it would save council taxpayers money in the long run.

"The way to keep the cost of this road down is to not to mess about anymore, not to prevaricate."