Questions have been asked about why Norwich City Council's leader has agreed that millions of pounds can be used to plug the £6m funding gap for the Long Stratton bypass.

Council leaders have stepped in to ensure work can start next month - amid uncertainty over whether the £47m project will get extra money from the government.

But opposition councillors at City Hall have questioned why Labour-controlled City Hall agreed money from a pooled pot of developer contributions should go towards Norfolk County Council's plans for the south Norfolk road.

Eastern Daily Press: How the Long Stratton bypass would lookHow the Long Stratton bypass would look (Image: Norfolk County Council)

READ MORE: Photographs show route of new A140 Long Stratton bypass

However, council leader Mike Stonard hit back, saying the point of the pot was that it should be used across the Greater Norwich area.

The government announced in 2021 it would give £26.2m towards the A140 bypass, but the bill has since risen to £46.9m.

Some of the project's cost will be covered from developer contributions, with the project linked to the construction of 1,800 homes on land nearby.

The county council hopes the government's decision to scrap part of the HS2 rail link will make more money available, but Department for Transport officials have yet to confirm whether extra money will come.

And, with work due to start within weeks, councils have taken matters into their own hands so construction can begin.

The Greater Norwich Growth Board (GNGB), made up of representatives from those two councils, plus Norwich and Broadland, previously agreed to put £10m into the scheme, with developers also adding £4.5m.

South Norfolk Council and Norfolk County Council are each intending to put in £2m.

And the GNGB last week agreed a further £2m could come from the Investment Infrastructure Fund to cover the gap and kickstart construction.

That is a pot made up of money which developers contribute to through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which can be shared among projects across Norwich, Broadland and South Norfolk.

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

Green county councillor Jamie Osborn previously criticised City Hall's controversial decision to exempt Anglia Square developers from having to contribute to the CIL fund - before Weston Homes pulled the plug on that scheme.

And Mr Osborn said: "It seems that Labour-run Norwich is happy for millions of pounds to go into the Conservatives' road-building in areas that have no connection to the city.

"At the same time, they are letting developers off the hook on paying their fair share of local infrastructure taxes and so losing money that could be spent improving our city.

"Mr Stonard needs to answer questions on exactly why he agreed to Norwich's money being spent with no benefits for Norwich."

Eastern Daily Press: Mike StonardMike Stonard

But Mr Stonard said the scheme would benefit Norwich - and the CIL fund was set up to be distributed across the three council areas.

He said: "It’s sad to see that Mr Osborn has once again got this completely wrong.

"He obviously doesn’t understand how the Greater Norwich Growth Board and the City Deal work, which is quite worrying.

"This money is developer contributions which are pooled by Norwich, Broadland and South Norfolk councils and could be spent anywhere within their boundaries.

"All three councils regularly approve investments from this pot in one another’s boundaries. There is nothing unusual about this."

Eastern Daily Press: The Long Stratton bypass will pass to the east of the townThe Long Stratton bypass will pass to the east of the town (Image: Mike Page)

He said Norwich had secured more than £2m from the pot in recent years, including for improvements to parks and football facilities.

Mr Stonard added: "He is also missing the point that the Long Stratton bypass will unlock the building of much-needed homes, which will result in developer contributions to replenish the pooled pot over time - and this too will benefit Norwich.

"I think Mr Osborn should come clean and admit that, just like with Anglia Square, he is effectively against new housing, new jobs and working with partners to get the best deal for Norwich."