Norwich cycle route could get £5m boost
- Credit: Sean Aldred
Up to £5m could be pumped into improving a cycle route through Norwich, after the city council was invited to bid for a pot of government cash to encourage people to get on their bikes.
If the city council succeeds with its bid it would see major improvements to the cycle route which connects Heartsease to the Norwich Research Park via the city centre.
Norwich has been invited by the Department for Transport to bid for a share of £42m made available by the government through Cycle City Ambition Grants.
If Norwich successfully gets one of those grants, the government would provide about £3.4m in capital funding for cycling improvements.
A further £1.6m would come from city council budgets which have already been earmarked for cycling improvements, local transport plan cash allocated to Norwich by Norfolk County Council, growth point funding and cash from other partners.
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The city is one of just 28 cities invited to bid for the cash. Norwich has been invited because it is part of the 'City Deals process - which could see Greater Norwich take on powers and budgets previously controlled in London.
The 'City Deal' that Norwich's leaders want to negotiate with central government the deal is focused on turbo-charging success at Norwich Research Park to help create up to 40,000 new jobs over the next 20 years.
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And that is also why the route from Heartsease to Norwich Research Park, known as the pink pedal way on the recently produced Norwich Cycling Map, would be in line for improvements.
As City Hall officers state in a report to councillors: 'This route has been chosen because it connects local communities to both the city centre and Norwich Research Park, thus supporting the ambition of the City Deal to improve infrastructure links.'
But with just a handful of grants available and a number of cities expected to bid for them, councillors urged caution over the possibility of getting the cash.
Bert Bremner, cabinet member for planning and transportation at the city council, said: 'There is potential here to do something quite major and we are keen to get our bid in.
'But we don't want to raise expectations too much, as we will be up against a number of other cities. There's only two or three of these grants available.
'If were successful it wouldn't be about putting in something for professional cyclists to race along, but a route which a 12-year-old would feel comfortable riding along.
'And if we get the money we would want to know people's opinions. We would want to consult with people and talk about what people want.'
Norwich City Council's controlling Labour cabinet will decide next Wednesday whether to delegate authority to council officers to submit the application for the grant.
The application needs to be submitted by April 30. The council expects a decision on whether it has been successful to be announced about a month later.
• Do you think more needs to be done for cyclists in Norwich? Write to Norwich Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email email@example.com