Breckland set to become latest council to back western link

The options for the Western Link. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

The options for the Western Link. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

A £161m dual carriageway connecting the Northern Distributor Road with the A47 is set to be backed by Breckland Council this morning.

With the proposals for the so-called western link having already been supported by the cabinets of Norwich and Broadland councils, Breckland Council now also looks likely to endorse the proposals.

Today the council's cabinet will be asked to firm up its position on the scheme, with officers recommending they back routes C and D as the council's preferred option.

It would see Breckland taking the exact same position as Broadland's cabinet, which recently agreed to give equal support to the two options - both of which would see new dual carriageways cut through the Wensum valley.

In a report to the cabinet, strategic planning manager Phil Mileham suggested that while all four routes had their drawbacks, options C and D were most preferable.

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He said: 'The council considers that the completion of the western link is a key project to support growth and prosperity in both Breckland and the wider county.

'Route options C and D both provide significant benefits to providing an effective traffic solution for the western link. However, the additional environmental impact arising from the delivery of a scheme requiring two river crossings for option D also indicate potential delivery challenges that could affect the timetable.'

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He added that, for this reason, option C was 'narrowly preferable'.

Last month, Broadland and Norwich both made it clear that route A - a £60m single carriageway upgrade to the B1535 and A1067 - was not something they could back. This report suggests Breckland will be taking a similar stance.

Mr Mileham also suggests that the cabinet make it known that it wishes to see walking and cycling opportunities considered in the next phase of planning the link.

The cabinet will appraise each of the route options at a meeting on this morning which will be held at Breckland's offices in Dereham.

In previous months, the cabinet has been taken 'on tour' around the district, with 30-minute slots ahead of the meeting for questions. This meeting will also take this format, with questions starting at 9.30am.

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