Norfolk’s Postwick Hub development takes step nearer

Radical changes to a key junction on the A47 near Norwich have moved a huge step nearer - paving the way for the controversial Northern Distributor Road.

The planning committee at Broadland District Council this morning agreed to hand officers the power to agree permission for the so-called Postwick Hub.

The committee also gave the go-ahead for officers to approve outline permission for the associated business park Broadland Gate, which includes homes, retail, a hotel and a car showroom.

Councillors agreed to delegate authority to the head of development management and conservation to grant permission subject to a string of conditions.

The scheme was put forward by Norfolk County Council in partnership with Ifield Estates.

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It had previously been granted permission, but that permission was revoked after a challenge by Lothbury Trust, the owners of Broadland Business Park, which has its own expansion plans.

But the changes to the Postwick interchange are widely seen as the first step towards the NDR.

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The funding for the improvements to the hub, which would cost �21m, is still not confirmed.

The county council has been assured by the government that money is ring-fenced, but the cash has not yet been allocated.

It would see slip roads connecting the A47 closed, with a series of new roundabouts created around the Broadland Gate business park.

There had been calls for the committee not to discuss the plans, after Green city and county councillors reported the county council to the Audit Commission for the use of �170,000 of public money in preparing the environmental statement for the partnership scheme.

But Broadland officers said, having sought legal advice, there was no reason not to discuss the application today.

Councillors voted 12 to 2 in favour, with one abstention.

Following the meeting, Edward Olley, director of Ifield Estates Limited, said: 'We are delighted that planning permission for BroadLand Gate has been granted, and would like to thank all of those involved in ensuring the development truly meets the needs of the community.

'The development will provide a platform for thousands of local jobs across a range of sectors, benefitting the local economy and providing a sustainable and vibrant community.

'Our focus now is to move forward with renewed energy and to meet the challenges ahead to deliver the BroadLand Gate development with the investment and new jobs it will bring.'

And Graham Plant, cabinet member for planning and transportation, said: 'The Postwick Hub junction improvement is vital to unlock the business and jobs potential east of Norwich and Thorpe St Andrew, as well as helping to meet the pressures brought by new housing.

'People who use that junction regularly will know how congested it is already at peak periods and that this problem is getting worse.

'These proposals are designed to meet these immediate problems while providing the capacity needed for the expansion of Broadland Business Park and Broadland Gate, and for new homes planned for the area.

'The Postwick Hub also enables the proposed Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NDR) to connect with the A47 and the national Trunk Road network as set out in the adopted Joint Core Strategy for Greater Norwich.'

He added the council would next month call for the government to release the cash for the Postwick hub project.

He said: 'If we get a positive response from the government, and remaining statutory procedures are completed, we could see a start of work early in the next financial year.'

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