Building the controversial Norwich Western Link road and dualling the A47 are both crucial to increasing Norfolk’s prosperity, city MP Chloe Smith has told a summit of local business leaders.

The Conservative MP for Norwich North said the two schemes, which both have price tags of several hundred million pounds attached, were the region's most needed infrastructure upgrades.

Speaking at an event organised by the ‘Eastern Powerhouse’ group, Ms Smith said: “Completing the dualling of the A47 is one absolutely critical item that would unify the east and deliver huge benefits.

“It’s a simple rationale. People need to be able to get to their jobs and people will benefit from the business investment which will then come, because the logistics will be better.

“I also think that completing the Western Link between the NDR and the A47 is an essential part of that, because the NDR has already brought benefits to North Norwich in terms of relieving traffic pressures.

“One of my first speeches in parliament was actually in favour of getting the NDR done, in autumn 2009… Residents at that time were having to use residential streets in Sprowston as the unofficial outer ring road - and that’s no good.

“So the NDR’s a really good thing, and we need to complete that job by doing the Western Link.

It was recently revealed that the Western Link's cost has risen from £198m to £251m - but the county council has insisted the project will still provide "value for money".

In addition to further work on tackling the city’s inequalities, Ms Smith said Norwich also needed more homes.

She added however that it remained “critically important” for those homes to come with the right infrastructure.

“I think we do need further improvements to the planning system to be able to deliver those goals and to make those homes a reality for people, but I’m cautious of a landslide of reforms all at once, because that doesn’t necessarily bring about certainty,” she said.

The ‘Eastern Powerhouse’ group which convened the event at which Ms Smith was speaking, was set up by the former Conservative mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer.

Asked whether Norfolk could benefit from having its own county mayor, Mr Palmer said it was in principle “a good idea” and that Cambridgeshire had benefited from having one.

“It allowed investment into areas of Cambridgeshire that hadn’t had investment before,” he said.