Fast track for cycling and pedestrian schemes if Norwich gets government millions
PUBLISHED: 16:13 14 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:38 14 July 2020
Archant Norfolk 2017
Schemes to get people in and around Norwich cycling and walking would be “fast tracked”, should the government give millions of pounds for transport changes in the city.
Council officers are waiting to hear how much, if anything, it will get from the government’s £1.2bn Transforming Cities pot, with Norwich battling it out with Portsmouth and Stoke-On-Trent for a share of £117m.
Transport for Norwich officers had hoped to get between £75m to £162m, but missed out on the initial award of cash and had to resubmit a case with a medium value of £32m and high and low cases of £5m either side.
First buses are prepared to add invest £18.8m to a successful bid.
The bid was discussed at a meeting of the Transforming Cities joint committee.
Conservative committee chairman Martin Wilby agreed it was disappointing the original bid had not been accepted.
Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group, said the reduced amount, if awarded, meant none of the schemes would be truly transformative, but simply improvement schemes.
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Brian Watkins, Liberal Democrat councillor for Eaton, said changes in behaviour due to coronavirus, with people more willing to cycle and walk, should be tapped into.
Officers said if the money is awarded, schemes that promote cycling and walking would be priorities.
Such schemes include £1.7m for improvements in St Stephens Road, an £820,000 cycle and bus contraflow in Thorpe Road and a £1.1m sustainable transport link at Norwich Airport industrial estate.
Jeremy Wiggin, Transport for Norwich manager, said: “What we are proposing is to bring forward as many of the walking and cycling schemes, to focus on those.
“People are not using public transport for obvious reasons. In the long-term, we hope that situation is reversed and public transport becomes a key player.
“But, at the moment, we are looking at how we deliver the schemes and to see how can fast track those. It’s very clear that the government is looking to prioritise investment in walking and cycling at the current time.”
Meanwhile, Green councillors in Norwich said a £2.5m scheme, in the bid, to make changes to the Foundry Bridge area outside Norwich’s railway station is just “tinkering around the edges”.
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