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Public will not dictate NDR western link decision, council says

PUBLISHED: 07:53 09 March 2019

Artist's impression of a viaduct which could carry the Western Link over the River Wensum. Photo: Norfolk County Council

Artist's impression of a viaduct which could carry the Western Link over the River Wensum. Photo: Norfolk County Council

Norfolk County Council

Public opinion will not be the sole influencing factor for the county council when deciding how to connect the Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NDR) with the A47.

The options for the Western Link. Pic: Norfolk County Council.The options for the Western Link. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

A report to Norfolk County Council’s environment, development and transport committee had indicated that those who made their views known on the so-called western link were leaning towards a £161m dual carriageway joining the A47 at Easton.

However, councillors and officers discussing the report said the public consultation could not be the only consideration taken into account when the council selects its preferred option.

Project director Chris Fernandez said: “Our preferred route should be considered on more than just the consultation report. Issues around the environment - for example - must also be taken into account.”

The report indicated that the £161m option D, which includes two viaducts across the Wensum Valley, was the option most favoured in the consultation, which was participated in by more than 1,900 people.

Tim East, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Costessey. Picture; Bill SmithTim East, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Costessey. Picture; Bill Smith

However, Tim East, county councillor for Costessey, said he felt this was not necessarily the best option in his view.

He said: “Given the higher predicted usage and the need for only one river crossing, I feel route C clearly offers the best cost to benefit ratio and lesser environmental impact of the dual carriageway routes.”

Route C would follow a similar path to route D, but at £153m has a slightly lower estimated cost.

Mr East added: “It is of vital importance that we go for the least environmentally damaging route, which I feel is route C.”

Stuart Clancy, county councillor for Taverham, spoke strongly about the need for the western link to become a reality.

He said: “It is vital we deliver this road for the benefit of the county.

“We must be conscious of the environment, but when I say that I mean where people live - the human environment, which the road will improve. We must keep the project on track and do everything we can to deliver it.”

He said it would improve the environment by reducing rat-running through places such as Taverham and Costessey, as well as easing congestion in Norwich.

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