Council defends plans to continue spending on Norwich northern bypass
Council bosses have defended plans to continue spending �1.2m paving the way for the controversial Northern Distributor Road, despite funding for the scheme being up in the air.
The road was named in October on a list of transport projects in with a shout of securing a share of �600m from the government.
However, with the 8.7 mile, �127m scheme up against 21 other projects and no likelihood of work happening for at least another year, critics have questioned why Norfolk county council is still planning to spend �750,000 on planning and modelling for the road in 2011/12 and �500,000 the following year.
At a meeting of Norwich City Council this week, the opposition Green party called on the council to agree to write to County Hall urging them to refrain from spending large sums of money on preparing for a road scheme which might never be completed.
Adrian Ramsay, pictured, Green councillor for Nelson ward and deputy leader of the Green party nationally, said: 'We have had debates on the merits or otherwise of the NDR on many occasions.
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'That's not the issue in front of us now. The issue is that given the county council doesn't have tens of millions of pounds, should it be a priority to spend large amounts on money on modelling or planning work on the NDR?'
He said at a time when cuts were looming for pedestrian schemes and safety improvements, it made no sense to keep spending on a road which might never happen.
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But the Green motion was rejected and Steve Morphew, leader of Norwich City Council, said the county council had already cut its spending on the scheme.
He added: 'If money is found then we need to ensure we can take advantage of that so the work can start. We see it as a development scheme to open up land to enable the creation of jobs, homes and prosperity.'
Graham Plant, cabinet member for travel and transport at Norfolk County Council, said: 'We are continuing to progress the scheme, but at a significantly reduced rate.
'However, until further discussions are held with the department, expected in February and March 2011, it is not clear what the exact scope of work will be.'
What's your view on the NDR? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE, or email email@example.com