Calls are mounting for the crunch decision on plans for a hugely controversial new road to be taken out of the hands of Norfolk councillors.

Critics of the £274m Norwich Western Link are unhappy it will be Norfolk County Council's own planning committee which decides whether to grant planning permission for the 3.9-mile road.

A visualisation of the Norwich Western Link roadA visualisation of the Norwich Western Link road (Image: Norfolk County Council)

The Stop The Wensum Link campaign wants the matter to be 'called-in' by the government, so the final say on whether the road goes ahead does not rest with county councillors.

A call-in is where the secretary of state takes over the determination of a planning application, rather than letting the council make that decision.

READ MORE: Norfolk council ready to borrow for Western Link road

A planning inspector is appointed, who holds meetings to hear evidence and then makes a recommendation.

The secretary of state gets the final say and can agree with, or ignore, that recommendation.

David Pett, from Stop The Wensum LinkDavid Pett, from Stop The Wensum Link (Image: David Pett)

Lawyer David Pett, from the Stop The Wensum Link campaign, wrote to the council urging it to request that the government call in the matter.

He said: "There is a significant risk of biased decision-making. The council may or may be seen to prioritise its own application for political or financial gains, rather than serving the public interest."

READ MORE: Environmental groups urge opposition to Norwich Western Link

He said it was particularly important the process around plans for the road, which would connect the Norwich Northern Distributor Road to the A47 near Honingham, was "open and transparent".

He said: "Given these critical issues, we urge the council to refer the planning application for a call-in to ensure an impartial and fair review."

Council officers replied to Mr Pett and said they would "continue to carry out our legal duty and process the application".

They said: "Experience suggests decisions on whether to call in an application are usually made after a matter has been determined locally by the relevant local authority."

The Labour group at County Hall previously urged the council to request a call-in.

Kay Mason BilligKay Mason Billig (Image: Norfolk County Council)

But their motion was rejected by the Conservative-controlled council. Leader Kay Mason Billig said: "I do not see any reason why we should not go through the full planning process. To swerve from that might send out the wrong signals."

People have until Monday, August 19 to comment on the application via