Step forward for NDR Western Link following government backing
- Credit: Norfolk County Council
A step forward has been taken towards the building of a controversial £153m road which would link the NDR to the A47.
The Department for Transport (DfT) gave conditional support for Norfolk County Council’s plans for the 3.8-mile Norwich Western Link road on Friday as part of its Large Local Majors funding programme.
Despite the backing, the road would still need to secure planning permission and no funding has been allocated for the project.
The DfT has provided more than £1m of development funding for the project for the 2021/2021 financial year, and its support gives the council the green light to proceed to the next stage of the national process.
The council will need to submit a further detailed business case, which, if approved, would unlock up to 85pc of the £153m estimated total cost of the project.
Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure at Norfolk County Council, said: “Investing in infrastructure improvements will be a vital part of supporting Norfolk’s economy to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, with the provision of good transport links critical to many of our major industries such as tourism, agriculture and manufacturing and engineering. So this news is particularly welcome right now.”
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Nova Fairbank, head of policy for the chambers, said: “Norfolk Chambers are really pleased that Norwich Western Link has received government backing. This is the final piece of the puzzle to ensure that Norfolk has infrastructure that will meet our growth ambitions. It will create stronger and more effective links to the Midlands and the North and will help Norfolk businesses to thrive and deliver greater economic growth and jobs.
“The Norwich Western Link will facilitate easier access to both Norwich airport and Great Yarmouth port. It will further help to improve journeys into and around the west of the city, support potential housing and jobs growth, provide the infrastructure to manage the additional traffic this will create, and improve quality of life for people living in the area.”
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But Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council, said: “This project belongs to the past not our future. This is the opportunity to rethink how people get around post pandemic not just tarmac over Norfolk. The quicker, cheaper solutions to rat running are being ignored, wildlife and ancient woodland lined up for destruction and it flies in the face of the commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030. It was a bad idea before the emergency and with the financial problems we face there are so many ways to use this money to better our future than on an outrageously expensive and outdated road scheme.”
The council said, subject to funding and securing planning permission, it aims to open the road in 2025.