Row over funds for city transport sees schemes blasted for ‘incoherence’
PUBLISHED: 17:25 16 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:25 16 April 2020
A row over Norwich being given millions less in transport funding than it had hoped for has seen councillors accuse rivals of “incoherent” proposals.
Funding for Norwich’s transport system was yesterday blasted as “loose change” as it was revealed the city would receive just £32m of £1.2bn government cash.
The joint Transforming Cities Fund committee submitted bids for £75m, £90m or £162m - but has now been awarded its share of £117m split with two other cities.
And now Green councillors have criticised the committee for not sharing the draft proposals with them ahead of submission, which they said used “unrelated schemes” and were “incoherent”.
But the county council have confirmed the sum is not yet finalised with the Department for Transport (DfT), with specific schemes yet to be agreed.
In a letter to Norwich MP Chloe Smith, transport secretary Grant Shapps said the city would receive a “nominal per capita award of £32m”, which could vary by £5m.
And Martin Wilby, chairman of the joint committee, said the final figure was “by no means decided”.
Green Party city councillor Denise Carlo said: “Norfolk’s bid contained several unrelated schemes relevant to the central bid, which created a degree of incoherence. It was watered down by too many expensive add-ons.
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“We would have made this point had we been allowed to see the draft bid before the committee submitted it to the DfT. We asked to see the bid but were told no.”
She added that the Greens were concerned that a lack of transport funding would create issues with delivering new housing.
“The small amount of money provided by the DfT won’t go far,” she said. “This raises questions about delivery of housing and employment growth for Norwich.
“There are no other sources of money on the horizon.”
However, the council said the additional schemes were part of its ambitious longer term plan, and the committee accepted it was likely only to receive funding for its low or medium level proposals.
Mr Wilby said: “Any investment in local infrastructure should be welcomed, particularly in the current climate, but the funding allocation is by no means decided.
“We are still working with the DfT to develop our business case and discuss how Norwich’s share could be used to best effect, whilst working with bus operators to maximise the potential for additional investment.
“This remains the largest investment in sustainable transport seen in Norwich to date and will in no way undermine our longer term aspirations for the delivery of housing and jobs in the region.”
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