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Regular news: Issue 594 13 Apr 2012

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Norfolk commits to longer city bypass with £50m local funding

Andrew Forster

Norfolk County Council will have to raise more than £50m locally to deliver a longer version of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NDR) than the DfT is prepared to help fund.

Ministers last December announced they were prepared to award Norfolk £67.5m towards the cost of a dual carriageway NDR from the A140 in the north of the city round to the A47 Great Yarmouth trunk road to the east.

But Norfolk’s cabinet last week resolved that the planning application for the road, due to be submitted this autumn, should also include construction of a dual carriageway from the A1067 to the A140 at an estimated additional cost of £40m. Councillors said all the work should be procured as a single project.

As well as the £67.5m contribution towards the NDR, the Government has pledged £19m from the (former) Community Infrastructure Fund for the Postwick Hub, the new junction to the east of Norwich that will connect the NDR with the A47.

This takes the Government’s contribution to £86.5m for the schemes. But the total cost of the Postwick Hub and the NDR (with the A1067 add-on) is £141.5m. Norfolk will have to raise  £53.3m locally for the projects.

The Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP) of local authorities (Norwich, Broadland, South Norfolk districts and Norfolk) has already pledged in principle to provide £40m towards the NDR and related measures.

A county council spokesman told LTT that Norfolk would underwrite the GNDP contribution using prudential borrowing, repaid from Community Infrastructure Levy revenues.

The public inquiry into the NDR is likely to start in summer 2013 and Norfolk says construction could begin in 2015, with the road opening in 2017.

The Norwich and Norfolk Transport Action Group (NNTAG) is still fighting the road projects. It is exploring the implications of a High Court ruling in February, which upheld a legal challenge brought by a local community group (Snub) that the strategic environmental assessment for the Joint Core Strategy for Broadland, Norwich and South Norfolk, adopted in March 2011, failed to examine alternatives to the North East Norwich Growth Triangle (NEGT) – 9,000 homes in an urban extension. The work will have to be redone and subject to a new examination in public.

“NNTAG will argue that deletion of the growth triangle alters a key argument for Postwick Hub, namely to support JCS growth,” Denise Carlo of NNTAG and Green party transport spokeswoman on Norwich City Council told LTT.

A county council spokesman said: “I know the appellants want to widen the net as far as possible but the defendants (the GNDP authorities) are not accepting this and will, of course, be wanting to limit the scope of the final order. If agreement can’t be reached, it’s back to the judge to set the terms of the order but that’s something both sides will try to avoid.”

The council spokesman said NNTAG was misrepresenting the council’s transport policies. “We feel we get coloured with a road building brush which is completely unfair.” Norfolk has just received £2.6m from the DfT’s Better Bus Area fund for improvements to bus services in Norwich.

Discuss this and more at LTT's Future of Highways Delivery North event on the 27 June

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