The inquiry to decide whether the controversial £148.5m Norwich Northern Distributor Road should go ahead could be overseen by a panel of inspectors rather than just one – due to the complexity of the case and the level of public interest in it.

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Norfolk County Council wants to build the 19.5km dual carriageway road from the A47 at Postwick in the east of the city to the A1067 Fakenham Road to the northwest.

The government has agreed to contribute £86.5m towards the cost and has said the scheme is of “national significance”, which has fast-tracked it through the planning system.

Planning inspector Elizabeth Hill had been due to weigh up the evidence during a number of hearings this summer, before making a recommendation to the secretary of state on whether to grant a development consent order.

But communities secretary Eric Pickles is deciding whether she should be the sole examining authority.

Mrs Hill said: “The secretary of state is considering whether this application should now be handled by a panel of examining inspectors, bearing in mind the complexity of the case and the level of public interest in the outcome.”

Until such a decision is made, Mrs Hill said she would not publish a timetable for the examination.

The road has met opposition from Friends of the Earth, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Stop Norfolk Urbanisation (SNUB) and the Green Party, who say it will increase congestion and lead to swathes of the countryside being concreted over. But Norfolk County Council says it will bring a huge economic boost and improvements, such as a rapid bus transit in Norwich.

What do you think of the NDR? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.


  • Everyone should be clear that the NDR has virtually nothing to do to reducing existing traffic congestion. It is to provide a service road for massive housing developments and retail and business parks. Some 12,000 to 15,000 new house are planned North and East of the Norwich and this is the tip of a developer iceberg. These houses would generate over 100,000 additional traffic movements a day to the existing traffic. Nor do these developments have much do with addressing housing shortages for existing residents. There are more than 12000 houses already with planning permission around Norwich than could be started tomorrow. There are hundreds of empty houses around Norwich; 385 of these are in Norwich itself. The real question is why are so many houses planned North and East of Norwich? Part of the answer is these plans are out of date and revised projections suggest that the existing housing target around Norwich could be reduced by over 11,000 houses. Who are these houses for if not for local residents? NCC have stated this is to accommodate projected inward migration mainly from the EU. Studies by NCC have stated thee were over 50,000 registrations for National Insurance from overseas nationals who came to Norfolk in the year ending March 2011. Many migrant workers will be hard working people but there must something fundamentally flawed with NCC plans when apparently thousands of future jobs are relying on economic migrant labour and plan to build thousands of homes to house them. It is clear that the government is concerned about the scale of this issue and will be reducing the number of migrant workers. Another aspect of all this is what type of jobs is it envisaged people will have who would occupy all these houses? Some people have suggested extending the planned NDR to A47 NW of Norwich but this would encourage further development and traffic generation. It is easy to envisage a Postwick Hub situation developing affecting villages in the Easton-Honingham-Hockering area. I urge everyone reding this to check up on all this information with NCC but to make sure that they receive a written reply and do not rely on verbal statements.

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