Campaigners plan protest ahead of Norwich Northern Distributor Road meeting
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2013
Campaigners against the proposed Norwich Northern Distributor Road will hold a protest today, as a planning inspector sets out how an inquiry into the £148.5m scheme will be conducted.
Norfolk County Council wants to build the 19.5km dual carriageway road from the A47 at Postwick in the east of the city to the A1067 Fakenham Road to the northwest.
The government has agreed to contribute £86.5m towards the cost and has said the scheme is of 'national significance', which has fast-tracked it through the planning system.
That means Planning Inspector Elizabeth Hill will weigh up evidence before making a recommendation on whether to grant a development consent order.
Today, at Blackfriars Hall in St Andrew's Street in Norwich, Mrs Hill will hold a preliminary hearing ahead of her deliberations.
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The purpose of the meeting is only to set out how the application will be examined and will not get into the arguments in favour or against the road.
But campaigners against the road are planning to protest outside the venue from 12.30pm. Representatives from Friends of the Earth, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Stop Norfolk Urbanisation (SNUB) and the Green Party are set to be among those demonstrating.
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Katy Jones, CPRE Norfolk branch manager, said; 'The NDR will inevitably lead to infill development to the north of the city, causing an increase in congestion and light pollution and a decrease in the quality of life for the people of Norwich and beyond.
'It is an ill-conceived road, which is neither needed or wanted, and the consultation process which has enabled it to get this far leaves a lot to be desired'.
Andrew Boswell, county council and leader of the Green Party on Norwich City Council said; 'I will be challenging the planning inspector today as to why carbon dioxide emissions and climate change have been omitted from the principal issues for the hearing.
'Climate change is one of the most important issues facing mankind and we owe it to future generations to take it very seriously. This road will increase traffic and emissions and is very damaging to the environment.'
Norfolk County Council, however, says the road will bring a huge economic boost and connected improvements, such as a rapid bus transit in Norwich.
They say it can tackle the 'infrastructure deficit' which has holding the county back when it comes to its potential to be an outstanding place to live, work and do business.
The county council says that is why it has such wide support from other authorities, including Norwich City Council, Broadland, North Norfolk and South Norfolk district councils and Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
The council also points to support from ainfluential organisations such as New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, tourism groups, individual businesses, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce and Norwich Business Improvement District.
• What's your view on the NDR? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.