Western Link: People to get say in consultation, but critics want road axed
PUBLISHED: 12:43 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:33 08 July 2020
Norfolk County Council/Denise Bradley/Simon Parkin
People will be able to have their say over elements of the controversial Norwich Western Link, which would connect the Northern Distributor Road to the A47, later this month.
Public consultation over the £153m, 3.8-mile road was due to take place earlier this year, but was put on hold due to coronavirus.
It will now start at the end of this month, but critics said Norfolk County Council should scrap the scheme.
The Conservative-controlled council’s cabinet previously selected a route from the A1067, travelling between Weston Longville and Ringland. It would link to the A47 at a junction at Wood Lane, near Honingham, with a 720-metre-long viaduct over the River Wensum.
Permission and funding has yet to be secured, but the Department for Transport has given conditional support.
The council says the Local Access Consultation will focus on how to support people to walk, cycle and use public transport to the west of Norwich and for opinions over proposals around existing roads on the route.
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Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure at the council, said: “The creation of the new road itself will help make walking, cycling and getting on a bus more appealing as it will take traffic off existing congested roads and out of communities in the area to the west of Norwich.
“We want to add to these benefits by bringing in complementary measures that will link local residents to places they want to get to, whether for leisure, education or work.
“We’ve talked to local parish councils and other groups to come up with some ideas on how we can do this most effectively and these will be presented so we can get wider feedback.”
But Steve Morphew, leader of the opposition Labour group, said: “It’s ridiculous to assert the way to respond to the increased increase in walking and cycling is to spend close to £200m on a road for cars. Spend that money on sustainable transport, jobs in clean energy and conservation.
“There is an appetite for change, but this is same old, same old, tarmac over Norfolk solutions.”
Consultation will run online from Monday, July 27 to Sunday, September 20. Coronavirus restrictions mean there will not be drop in events, but people can talk to staff via booked phone or internet calls.
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