Norwich Western Link consultation welcomed by MPs, but concerns remain
PUBLISHED: 17:35 01 May 2018 | UPDATED: 18:36 01 May 2018
Copyright: Archant 2018
Communities, businesses and MPs have welcomed the prospect of a Western Link for the fully-open Norwich Northern Distributor Road.
Norfolk County Council has announced it is to consult with the public over joining the £205m road - now known as the Broadland Northway - with the A47 to the west of the city.
Currently, the road does meet the A47 at Postwick, however, there is no link between the A1067 Fakenham Road and further along the A47.
With the public consultation scheduled to start next week, news that the council is looking into the Western Link has been welcomed by Broadland MP Keith Simpson.
He said: “I am in favour of finishing it off, although I am also aware of the environmental issues that would go along with it.
“However, I am in favour of building it and think there are ways it can be done.”
Mr Simpson added the project would need to go “hand-in-hand” with dualling the A47, as he felt the link would need to meet a dualled section.
Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, said: “I am in favour of a Western Link as it would allow both the city and county to get the maximum benefit of the road and would also bring jobs to the region.”
Businesses to the west of the city have also welcomed the proposals.
Kathryn Kedzlie, landlady of the Red Lion pub in Drayton, said: “I think there would have been no point building the road to begin with without the link. Building it would take traffic away from small communities and villages, which don’t have the roads to deal with it.
“The area is growing, so we need to logistics in place.”
Jo Haynes, florist at Oops A Daisy in Drayton said the road as it is had massively helped the shop make deliveries to Wroxham.
She said: “I think it would be a brilliant idea.”
Yvonne Sadler, manager of LE Electrical in Hellesdon, was also in favour of the Western Link, saying it would take traffic away from the suburb.
The eight-week consultation starts on Tuesday, May 8.
Opposition to the plans
The proposals have attracted criticism over the potential environmental impact of the Western Link.
Concerns have been raised by the Wensum Valley Alliance and Norfolk’s branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) over the loss of countryside it would bring - regardless of its route.
A CPRE Norfolk spokesman said: “Whichever option is chosen, serious environmental damage and loss of countryside will result.
“CPRE Norfolk urges that more consideration and a higher priority is given to a less intrusive highway system and other forms of local transport for the region.”
Jennifer Parkhouse, of the Wensum Valley Alliance, said it was “completely the wrong road to be going down”.
She said: “We will definitely be responding to the consultation and encouraging others to do likewise.
“There is already a link in the B1535, which could be improved at a fraction of the cost and with far less environmental impact.”
People in Hellesdon and Drayton had differing views on the potential new road - though most were in favour of it.
Colin Crisp, 76, of Eversley Road, Hellesdon, said: “At the moment it is a road to nowhere. I spent 50 years as a lorry driver and the road stopping where it does now gives no advantage to anybody.”
Peter Wrighton, 73, of Taverham, added: “At the moment, traffic through Sandy Lane and Beech Avenue in Taverham is a nightmare. I think it would make a huge difference.”
Justin Taylor, a 34-year-old landscaper of Pyehurn Mews, Taverham, said: “I think when you have something that looks three-quarters finished, you may as well see it through. We are seeing more and more houses built and while we all like green spaces, this is the modern world.”
Vivienne Wilkins, of Nursery Close, Hellesdon, added: “I think it should have been done that way initially.”
Ann Dunning, a 57-year-old factory worker from Swannington, said: “I do not think it is a good idea at all. There is a lot of marshland where it would need to go so I am concerned about how it would affect wildlife.”