Decision on £148.5m Norwich Northern Distributor Road due within three months

Norwich Northern Distributor Road protesters. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Norwich Northern Distributor Road protesters. Photo by Simon Finlay. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A decision on whether the £148.5m Norwich Northern Distributor Road can go ahead is set to be made within the next three months.

A panel of inspectors have notified the Secretary of State of their recommendation for the 12.5 mile dual carriageway road, following a series of hearings and scrutiny of Norfolk County Council's proposal last year.

What they have recommended is not known, but the final decision on whether the proposed road, stretching from the A1067 Fakenham Road at Attlebridge in the west to the A47 at Postwick in the east, rests with the Secretary of State.

Now that the recommendation has been submitted, the transport secretary has three months in which to issue a decision, although they could yet award themselves an extension.

The government has already agreed to contribute £86.5m towards the cost of the scheme, but the county council and developer contributions will have to be used to pay the rest, if it does go ahead.

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Norfolk County Council has said the road will bring a huge economic boost and connected improvements, such as a rapid bus transit in Norwich.

But critics have argued it will lead to rat-running and say the homes which will spring up around it will concrete over swathes of the countryside.

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Another long-standing criticism of that route is that it does not connect with the A47 to the west of Norwich, with the council having abandoned that plan because an environmentally acceptable and affordable way of crossing the Wensum valley could not be found.

However, the council last year agreed to carry out a feasibility study looking into whether a link could be provided in the future.

• Would you like the road to go ahead? Or do you think it is a waste of money? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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