Controversy over move to make ‘missing link’ on Norwich Northern Distributor Road a council priority

Work on the NDR. Picture: Nigel Pickover

Work on the NDR. Picture: Nigel Pickover - Credit: Archant

The 'missing link' on the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, the Long Stratton bypass and the third river crossing at Great Yarmouth are set to be named as Norfolk County Council's top road priorities in the years ahead.

When the full council meets on Monday, it will consider agreeing they should be at the top of the list of the council's priorities for infrastructure.

Conservative Martin Wilby, who has proposed the motion, said it was not about the council committing money at this stage, but to make sure the government is clear on what Norfolk wants.

On the western link of the NDR, the chairman of the council's environment, transport and development committee, said: 'The NDR is currently under construction and will be completed, hopefully, within the next 12 months. That brings an urgency of getting the missing link in place as soon as possible.'

But opponents of the NDR, due to stretch from the A47 at Postwick to the A1067 Fakenham Road, were critical.

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Proposals for it to connect to the A47 were previously abandoned because of difficulties of finding a route to cross the Wensum Valley - a site of special scientific interest.

However, the council has not given up on the idea and, in the summer, agreed to make more than £400,000 available over the next year to explore how it could join up.

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And Green councillor Andrew Boswell, said setting it as a priority was premature.

He said: 'It was only a few months ago the commitment for extra money was made to look into the western link. The study is meant to establish if the road is feasible and if there is a good case for it.

'And, before we even have that evidence, they are saying it should be a top priority of the council.'

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The council is also set to 'note the commitment' of government cash for various A47 improvements, but to 'express concern' there will be no substantial start on construction until 2020.

The council is asked to urge government to commit to:

• Timely improvement of all the A47, from Peterborough to Lowestoft

• A full dual carriageway standard, with appropriate grade separated junctions.

• Early government confirmation of the Acle Straight and Tilney to East Winch dualling projects

The motion is one of five to be discussed - but some councillors are angry others will not be taken.

Eleven motions initially appeared on the council agenda. But the council's vice-chairman consulted group leaders and it was agreed each political group would table just one motion - to make the meeting more manageable.

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