£318,000 scheme to improve Marriott’s Way would see 54 trees chopped down

Improvements are to be made to the Marriott's Way. Pic: Archant

Improvements are to be made to the Marriott's Way. Pic: Archant - Credit: Archant

More than £300,000 could be spent to make improvements to the popular Marriott’s Way trail, but it would mean the chop for dozens of trees.

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways and transport. Pic: Norfolk Conserv

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways and transport. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives. - Credit: Norfolk Conservatives

Council officers want to use part of the £32m recently awarded for transport changes through the government’s Transforming Cities fund to make changes on a stretch of the 26-mile route.

The £318,000 scheme would see changes to make the section of the of Marriott’s Way, between Gunton Lane car park and Hellesdon Road, safer and more convenient for walkers and cyclists.

Council officers say the route is currently uneven, overgrown with trees and foliage and is of “sub-standard width” to adequately cater for the people using the path.

But to improve it, 54 trees have to be cut down. A report, which will go before councillors next week, stating that an arboricultural impact assessment (AIA) has been carried out, with “every effort made to minimise the impact on trees of high and moderate quality”.

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The council says it will plant at least 48 trees to make up for those lost.

The scheme will also see a new crossing, where pedestrians and cyclists are segregated, on a raised table in Hellesdon Road, which bisects the route.

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There will also be a three-metre wide shared use path for walkers and cyclists between Hellesdon Road and Gunton Lane car park.

And Hellesdon Road, between the Marl Pit Lane junction and Hellesdon Bridge will be resurfaced.

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport and chair of the Transforming Cities joint committee, said: “This proposal aims to create a safer and more direct route through a section between Hellesdon Road and Gunton Lane where users are currently forced to navigate a narrow uneven path or take an awkward diversion and cross a busy road without appropriate crossing facilities.

“Improving this section will encourage greater use of the entire route by making walking and cycling safer, more convenient and accessible to all users.

“As the existing narrow path runs through a wooded area some tree removal is necessary in order to provide the new, wider facility.

“Officers have worked closely with tree specialists in developing the plans to identify the category and condition of all trees in this location and decide appropriate measures to minimise the impact of any tree removal required.”

The council report says the proposals received strong support from Norfolk Constabulary, Wensum Residents Association and three other people, with general support from 14 others, albeit they wanted minor changes.

Nine letters of objection were received, mainly focused on the tree removal, crossing location and the feeling that the scheme is not needed.

The Transforming Cities Fund joint committee will decide whether to approve the scheme when it meets on Wednesday, October 14.

The route, which runs from Norwich to Aylsham, is named after William Marriott, the chief engineer and manager of the Midland and Great Northern Railway system.

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