Campaigners call for inquiry into northern bypass work
Shaun LowthorpeCampaigners opposed to plans for a Norwich northern bypass and thousands of new homes around the northern edge of the city are calling for a public inquiry to be held as work gets set to start on the first phase of the road project.Shaun Lowthorpe
Campaigners opposed to plans for a Norwich northern bypass and thousands of new homes around the northern edge of the city are calling for a public inquiry to be held as work gets set to start on the first phase of the road project.
Norfolk County Council was last year given the green light to press ahead with a �21m plan to develop the so-called Postwick hub, which would see the expansion of the Broadland business park, the neighbouring park-and-ride site, and the reworking of the key junction with the A47.
The junction is key to the building of the bypass, which also secured the backing of ministers last year, and engineers are set to start work on the project this month.
But anti-growth campaigners want the process to be halted while an inquiry in to the Postwick hub decision and the granting of orders to carry out work on the side roads is carried out amid fears that the scheme is being railroaded through the planning process.
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Denise Carlo, campaign co-ordinator for the Norfolk and Norwich Transport Action Group, said: 'What we are seeing here is a number of abuses of both the Town and Country Planning Act and the Highways Act, to obtain approval for a controversial road scheme without it receiving public scrutiny at any public inquiry. Norfolk County Council is steamrollering people's rights.
James Frost, director of CPRE Norfolk, said a public inquiry into the Postwick Hub Orders was vital.
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'Local people deserve it, local councils deserve it and the local countryside deserves it.,' he said. 'Without it, Norfolk County Council runs the risk of hijacking the proper planning process and causing a backlash.
John Birchall, Norfolk County Council spokesman, said the authority believed that all the issues raised were properly considered when planning permission for the scheme was granted by Broadland District Council.
'In view of this, and taking account of the points raised by objectors, the county council does not consider that there is any need for a public inquiry into the side road orders and have detailed these reasons to the Government Office East (GoEast).'