£153m Western Link road delayed a third time
- Credit: Norfolk County Council
Plans for the Norwich Western Link business case have been delayed once again - to six months after they were originally due to be heard.
Norfolk County Council's Conservative-controlled cabinet was initially due to agree the business case for the £153m road, which would connect the Norwich Northern Distributor Road from the A1067 Fakenham Road to the A47 west of the city, in December last year.
But these plans have now been delayed another three months and will not be heard until June, having already been postponed twice.
Despite the delay, Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure at Norfolk County Council, has insisted work is continuing on the project.
He said: “Due to a delay in the completion of the procurement process to appoint a contractor for the Norwich Western Link, the report that was scheduled to be considered at the March meeting of cabinet is now scheduled for the June meeting instead.
“This means there will be a delay of about three months on the decision to submit the outline business case and appoint the contractor.
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"In the meantime, work on the project will continue as completing the Norwich Western Link and the benefits this will create for local communities, businesses and the county’s economy is a key priority for the council.”
The delay has led to further calls for the road to be scrapped.
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David Pett from the Stop The Western Link group said the announcement came as no surprise.
"The speed at which the council was proceeding with the submission of its outline business case and the engagement of a contractor had raised serious constitutional questions.
"The project is doomed and the council should do the right thing now and abandon it."
This was echoed by Steve Morphew, leader of the opposition Labour group at County Hall who called on the council to give the public a better explanation for the delay.
"I would rather see this thing scrapped now," he said.
"We have already been told that delays will cost £2.9m annually without doing anything.
"Every month there is a delay it costs another quarter of a million pounds.
"We need more transparency, more accountability and a better explanation."