Bid for millions to make huge changes to city transport to be lodged

The Heartsease Fiveways roundabout. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

The Heartsease Fiveways roundabout. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A bid for millions of pounds to bring about the biggest changes to transport in and around Norwich for a generation has been rubber-stamped for submission to the government.

Norfolk county councillor, John Fisher. Photo: Archanr Library.

Norfolk county councillor, John Fisher. Photo: Archanr Library. - Credit: Archant

But questions have been asked about the scale of the ambition for the bid for a share of the government's Transforming Cities fund.

The Greater Norwich area was awarded just over £6m in the first tranche of money from the government's fund, but Transport for Norwich officers hope millions more will follow in the next round.

A dozen cities are likely to get a share of that £1.2bn fund, while Greater Norwich could also get a share of a separate £90m Future Mobility Fund to cut single occupancy car use.

Norfolk County Council's Conservative-controlled cabinet agreed today to submit the bid, which includes proposals to revamp Castle Meadow, to create mobility hubs for people using public transport, to expand Thickthorn Park and Ride, improve the Fiveways roundabout at Heartsease and for new bus priority measures to speed up public transport.

However, former Green councillor Andrew Boswell tabled a public question about previous comments made by council officers and the council leader Andrew Proctor that "north of £100m" could be secured, when the programmes being lodged are for £75m, £90m or £162m worth of projects.

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Mr Proctor replied that the Department for Transport had advised the 12 cities on the shortlist for funding to reduce the scope of their scenarios as the fund was oversubscribed.

He said: "If we are successful, even with the low funding scenario, this will represent am additional investment of £75m in Greater Norwich."

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John Fisher, county councillor for Woodside in Norwich, said people living in his ward would be "over the moon" if the Fiveways roundabout at Heartsease is improved.

He said: "They have been on to me about the roundabout at Fiveways for the past 20 years and they would be over the moon if that is sorted out."

The bid, which had also been backed by Norwich City Council, will now be lodged with the government.

A decision on which cities will get money - and how much - is expected in March next year.

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