Half a million pound boost for Norfolk road schemes

Needham Parish Council chairman Andrew Major (left) and Norfolk county councillor Martin Wilby by on

Needham Parish Council chairman Andrew Major (left) and Norfolk county councillor Martin Wilby by one of the overgrown footpaths along the side of a field in Needham. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Half a million pounds is to be split between county councillors across Norfolk to spend on small-scale improvements to roads.

Each of the county's 84 councillors will be handed control of £6,000 for the likes of advisory 20mph signs outside schools, pavement extensions and maintenance to footpaths or verges.

Councillors agreed to the fund , known as the local member highways budget, in March.

The scheme was officially launched last week.

Conservative Martin Wilby, chairman of the environment, development and transport committee, is spending a portion of his budget to help provide professional mowing equipment to keep footpaths clear in and around Needham in south Norfolk.

His contribution will be match funded by Needham Parish Council.

Andrew Major, chairman of Needham Parish Council, said: 'It is always a concern for villagers that they're unable to use the public footpaths across the fields because they get so overgrown during the summer, particularly with nettles.

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'It would be ideal if we could find a way of keeping them clear and getting this equipment into the village would provide a solution.'

Mr Wilby said: 'I'm really pleased to be able to work with the parish council and help Needham with this practical solution which I think will make a big difference to local people.

'The village is in a beautiful part of Norfolk in the Waveney Valley, and it's important that residents and visitors to the area are able to get out on dedicated walking routes and enjoy it.'

The funding will be run alongside the council's Parish Partnership Scheme.

The council is providing £300,000, to be matched by bidders, such as parish and town councils, for highways improvements.

Mr Wilby said: 'We know what a difference these often small sums make so we've now put the new Local Member Highways Budget in place, which will see county councillors able to spend money to meet local priorities.'

Last week, council bosses revealed that the authority will need to save £125m over the next four years.Council leader Cliff Jordan admitted that the savings needed were 'absolutely horrendous'.

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