Norwich set for traffic shake-up following green light for £2.5m transport projects in city
- Credit: Steve Adams
A package to spend £2.5m on projects around Norwich - including for controversial city centre road changes, a new bridge, a link road and to revamp a community centre - has been agreed.
And a further £1m has been earmarked for four projects a year later, as city leaders get ready to spend millions of pounds in a new 'tax' on developers.
At a Norwich City Council meeting last night, councillors voted to commit cash for a string of projects.
They include up to £500,000 for the controversial city centre traffic changes which would see Golden Ball Street made two-way and Westlegate completely pedestrianised.
It would also pay for a new bridge to connect the Three Score Development at Bowthorpe with Norwich Research Park and for a £1m loan to redevelop the Sprowston Diamond Centre.
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The cash is available because of the community infrastructure levy, which means developers have to pay £75 per square metre for residential properties closest to the city, and £50 in the more rural parts of Broadland and South Norfolk That money has been pooled to spend on developments in the Greater Norwich area - Norwich, Broadland and South Norfolk.
Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, said: 'I have seen comments from people on social media saying 'why are we spending this cash when services are being cut? This is capital money, being spent on projects which will last a lot longer than a year. The money is generated as a result is development.
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'It's worked for us and it's a good thing. If we are to provide houses for the future, the transport links people need to get in and out of the city and to give people the choice how the move around Norwich and Greater Norwich, this partnership is absolutely essential.'
But some members of the Green Party voted against the overall package, which also includes borrowing to support the controversial Norwich Northern Distributor Road.
Green councillor Denise Carlo said that would mean there was less money available for other highways improvements.
The projects which will get cash in 2016/17 include:
• Half a million pounds towards a £1m project for a new link road between St Faiths Road and the Airport Industrial Estate.
• Up to £500,000 is to be set aside to go towards the £3m changes in the city centre.
The project will see Golden Ball Street made two way, Westlegate completely pedestrianised and general traffic banned from All Saints Green made.
• £150,000 towards a £400,000 scheme to create a new river crossing at Colney.
The aim is to improve links between the housing at Bowthorpe and the Norwich Research Park at Colney.
• A plan to put in a 'missing link' in the route between Norwich city centre, the railway station and Whitlingham Country Park, is set to get £100,000.
• A loan of £1m is earmarked towards a project to redevelop Sprowston Diamond Lodge.
The aim is to redevelop the School Lane centre and create a sports hall.
The project is estimated to cost £2.4m and £1.4m of that is being sought from other sources.
• £150,000 towards part of the pink pedalway changes at Heathgate, after the cost of the scheme increased • A new £120,000 crossing in Chartwell Road in Sprowston.
• Projects earmarked for cash in 2017/18 include £500,000 for a new sports hub in Long Stratton, a £150,000 revamp of Norwich's Castle Gardens, £365,000 to improve the Marriott's Way and £200,000 towards a strategy to improve the area around the river Wensum.