A47 changes in the spotlight

Aerial picture of the proposed site of the Postwick hub. Photo: Mike Page

Aerial picture of the proposed site of the Postwick hub. Photo: Mike Page - Credit: Archant

Battle lines have been drawn ahead of an inquiry into changes to the A47 on the edge of Norwich, which would pave the way for the Northern Distributor Road.

Norfolk County Council and the Highways Agency want to make changes to the A47 to the east of Norwich to create what they have called the Postwick Hub.

They say that is needed to allow growth and employment, including at the proposed development at Broadland Gate, which has planning permission.

It would involve the closure of A47 slip roads, including those leading on and off Yarmouth Road and the creation of new roads.

The hub is also seen as the gateway to the Northern Distributor Road, which would run from there to the A1067 Fakenham Road.

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The changes to the slip and side roads will be the focus of a public inquiry in the summer, but today a pre-inquiry meeting was held at The King's Centre in Norwich.

That meeting heard how 124 people and organisations have objected to the changes, while 31 support them.

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Among those objecting, who intend to speak at the inquiry, are representatives for Broadland Business Park, the Norwich and Norfolk Transport Action Group, Stop Norwich Urbanisation (SNUB), Cyclists Touring Group, Great and Little Plumstead Parish Council and Thorpe St Andrew Parish Council.

Objectors have drawn up eight alternatives to the plans, which will be published on May 17, with details posted to homes within a 1.5km radius of the Postwick Hub.

Many of the objectors are also against the NDR, but Estelle Dehon, barrister for the county council and the Highways Agency said this scheme could stand on its own, without that road.

She said the NDR public inquiry was taking place separately.

She said: 'This is not a public inquiry into the NDR, so we will not be presenting evidence supporting the NDR. This scheme is justified on its own.'

Objectors argued the two schemes were inextricably linked and Stephen Heard, from SNUB, asked if at some point those issues would all come together.

But the inspector said he had been appointed only to consider the statutory orders regarding the draft orders for slip and side roads.

The inquiry will start on July 3.

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