Crunch decision on Norwich NDR Western Link within weeks

Artist's impression of a viaduct which could take the Western Link over the River Wensum. Photo: Nor

Artist's impression of a viaduct which could take the Western Link over the River Wensum. Photo: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Norfolk County Council

A decision to pick the contractor to build the controversial £153m Norwich Western Link - and to submit a business case for the road to the government - is due to be made within weeks.

To be in with a chance of securing funding and consent for the road, which would link the Norwich Northern Distributor Road to the A47 to the west of the city, Norfolk County Council needs to lodge a business case.

The route of the proposed Western Link. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

The route of the proposed Western Link. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

The decision has already been delayed three times.

The council's controlling Conservative cabinet was initially due to do that in December last year.

But that was postponed to January and then March. The March decision was also then put on ice and it is now due to be made on June 7.

Following the cabinet decision, the matter will then go before the full council, later the same day.


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A council spokesperson said: “We set out in February that a report asking for approval to submit the outline business case for the Norwich Western Link, and to appoint a contractor for the project, was now due to be considered at the June meeting of the council's cabinet.

"We’re on schedule to do this and further details on the procurement process will be given in the report."

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The Department for Transport gave conditional support for the road last summer and the green light to proceed to the next stage of the national process.

The chosen 3.9 mile route, between Weston Longville and Ringland, would include a 720-metre-long viaduct over the River Wensum.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Bat Conservation Trust  and Norfolk Rivers Trust have raised concerns over the impact on wildlife habitats and the landscape.

Supporters of the road include the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, Norwich Airport, Norfolk Fire and Rescue, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Road Haulage Association, First buses and Konectbus.

Council leaders say it would bring economic benefits and ease rat-running and they would mitigate for any environmental impact.

But critics say it will not be possible to make up for the impact, including on barbastelle bats.

Barbastelle bat found in woodlands which would be destroyed by the proposed Norwich Western Link. Ph

Concerns have been raised about the impact building the road would have on barbastelle bats. - Credit: C. Packman

The Labour and Green groups at County Hall are opposing the road.

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