Parish councils across Norfolk were urged to take advantage of a “golden opportunity” to choose their own highway upgrades after an improved funding offer from the county council.

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Norfolk County Council’s “parish partnership” scheme was launched for 2012/13 with £100,000 and an offer to pay 50pc of the cost of highways improvements put forward by town and parish councils. The fund was later increased to £165,000 to allow 32 projects to be accepted.

This year, the council’s cabinet has proposed increasing the funding level to £1m and increasing the authority’s contribution to 75pc.

Parishes which received 50pc match funding during the last year will receive a refund, raising their grant to 75pc.

The proposed changes are subject to the approval of the full council at its 2013/14 budget meeting on February 18.

Graham Plant, cabinet member for planning and transportation, said: “This is a golden opportunity for town and parish councils to bring forward those local improvements that will make such a difference in their communities. I am confident that by offering to meet three quarters of the cost we will see many more projects brought forward.”

Projects funded in 2012/13 included crossing points, traffic islands and pavement widening. For the next year, the county council has suggested the conversion of parish-owned street lights to low-energy LED lights.

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