Bunwell is first to benefit from �100,000 partnership scheme

A south Norfolk village has been the first to benefit from a new �100,000 partnership scheme aimed at providing low-cost highway improvements across the county.

Norfolk County Council and Bunwell Parish Council have worked together to construct a new loose-finished footpath along the B1113.

The 220-metre path was created by replacing the grass verge and soil with a firmer material, which will still be usable in the wet.

The footpath was constructed as a pilot project under the newly-launched parish partnership programme, which looks to solve highway safety issues by sharing the cost of improvements between the county council and parish councils.

The scheme has been assigned a fund of �100,000 for projects across Norfolk.

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Bunwell's new path cost �11,000 – about a quarter of the cost of an asphalt-finished version – and the parish council was able to reduce expenditure by persuading nearby householders to cut back their hedges and provide temporary storage for building materials.

The improvements are also part of the Safer B1113 Project, which aims to minimise the use of cars and make the busy road safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

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John Pennell, of Bunwell Parish Council, said: 'The feedback from the users of the new path has been superb. Among others, a family of four is now able to walk to the school and playgroup and a disabled resident has been able to get the short distance to the post box without taking a car.'

Local county councillor Bev Spratt said: 'With budgets so tight we have got to find ways of making every pound stretch as far as possible. The Bunwell project shows just what can be achieved when county and parish councils work together.'

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