Norfolk and Suffolk to get say over almost £40m to spend on roads

Mike Jackson, director for planning and transportation at Norfolk County Council. Picture: Denise Br

Mike Jackson, director for planning and transportation at Norfolk County Council. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

Norfolk and Suffolk are to get greater power over which major transport schemes deserve to have nearly £40m spent on them.

The move is part of the government's localism agenda, intended to devolve decision-making away from Westminster to local communities.

Norfolk and Suffolk are earmarked to receive £39m for the four years from April 2015, to be spent on schemes costing more than £5m.

The government has ordered a new Local Transport Body for Norfolk and Suffolk needs to be created to decide which schemes deserve cash.

That new body will have representatives from the two councils, but the Local Enterprise Partnership will also play a key role, with one of its board members sitting on the new body. A long-list of possible schemes across the two counties will have to be published and consulted upon.

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The provisional long list for Norfolk includes the likes of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, improvements to Gapton Hall roundabout in Great Yarmouth, A11 junction improvements, A47 junction improvements, changes to roads in Attleborough and King's Lynn town centres and improvements to the Thickthorn roundabout on the edge of Norwich.

Mike Jackson, director of environment, transport and development at Norfolk County Council, said it was 'encouraging' that the government was devolving decision-making.

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But he warned it was unlikely the money would end up being used on expensive schemes and hoped it would not raise expectations.

In a report to councillors he said: 'The devolved major schemes funding presents a more certain route to secure funding than the previous centrally held pot.

'In addition the process is less likely to be subject to unexpected delays.

'Nevertheless, there remains an issue over the size of the pot.

'It is insufficient by itself to deliver anything other than relatively small improvements.

'There is a risk that significant improvements will be unable to be delivered unless the council can secure a large contribution towards costs from other sources.'

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