Norfolk council chiefs to press government for Norwich northern distributor road cash

Bosses at Norfolk County Council are to write to the government to et further assurances that money will be made available for an edge-of-Norwich road scheme paving the way for the controversial Northern Distributor Road (NDR).

Broadland District Council will this week discuss planning permission for the so-called Postwick Hub - changes to the A47 junction - which is effectively the first leg of the NDR.

And the county council is writing to the Department for Transport (DoT)to ensure ministers still support the scheme and are prepared to back it with millions of pounds.

The last government allocated �21m in Community Infrastructure Fund grant to the project - the biggest in the country - and the council says it has been told the money is still ring-fenced.

But a county council spokesman said: 'We recognise the importance of improving this junction as soon as possible and will next month submit a refined application to the DoT for government support for the Postwick Hub and the NDR.

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'The council has been assured us the Community Infrastructure Fund grant remains earmarked for Postwick, so a positive response from the DoT would greatly improve the chances of an early start on the Postwick Hub, once all formal procedures have been completed.'

Graham Plant, cabinet member for planning and transportation at County Hall, said the letter would contain additional information asked for by the government.

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He said: 'What we want from government is the full allocation. It would be good for the whole of Norfolk to get this done.'

On Wednesday members of Broadland's planning committee are set to discuss the application from the county ouncil and Ifield Estates for the Postwick Hub and a business park called Broadland Gate.

The council previously granted permission but it was quashed after a successful legal challenge by the Lothbury Trust which owns Broadland Business Park.

The outline application is for a business park including a commercial zone, business village, car showroom and hotel, with a detailed application for changes to the Postwick junction including new roundabouts and a link road.

Councillors will be asked to agree to delegate authority to grant planning permission to the council's head of development management and conservation subject to conditions.

But the Green Party, who are against the NDR, have raised concerns about the Postwick Hub process. They have reported the county council to the Audit Commission after �170,000 of public money was spent on preparing the environmental statement for the Postwick Hub/Broadland Gate scheme.

The Greens say councillors did not give officers the go-ahead to agree to spend the money in that way, though the council says it has helped secure a �2m package of road improvements.

The Broadland meeting will also discuss a scheme by Lothbury for an expansion of nearby Broadland Business Park, with 600 new homes at Brook Farm, a local centre and a site for a railway halt.

Officers are recommending that, again, authority is delegated to the council's head of development management and conservation subject to conditions.

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