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Norfolk link road scheme slowed down due to funding delay


Work on a £251m infrastructure project hailed as a council priority will be slowed down for the first time in seven years.

The 3.9-mile (6.3km) Norwich Western Link will connect the Broadland Northway to the A47, west of Norwich, with the aim of limiting congestion.

Norfolk County Council plans to "reduce levels of activity" for the scheme while waiting for a funding pledge from the government.

Critics of the project argue it will be economically and environmentally damaging and say the delay is a sign it should be scrapped.


The council states that creating a link between two major roads would "significantly improve travel" and claims there is support from the public, businesses, emergency services and local councils for a link road to be built.


However, the authority is still waiting for the government to commit to funding the £251m project, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

The initial business case requesting funds was submitted two years ago, but was amended in 2022 after rare bats were found in the area.

Graham Plant, the council's cabinet member for transport, insisted the project was on track and within budget.


He said: "We were hoping to get this [funding] by now but the government is in a different place. "It’s not ideal but the scheme is so good, we can’t let it go, it would be wrong to let it go."

Construction has not started on the route, but preliminary work has been under way.

Officials say this will now be slowed down, initially for three months but possibly longer.

Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group, said: "Ironically the £40m so far spent on achieving nothing is about the council’s likely budget gap next year.

"When the scheme fails that £40m will add to the budget black hole.

"There is still no Plan B for those blighted by rat-running west of Norwich.

"That £40m could have been spent helping them."

Green councillor Jamie Osborn said: "After years pouring millions of pounds into the Western Link, the Conservative council has now run out of road on this project."


IMAGE SOURCE, NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

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