Norwich Western Link route change report delayed

Norwich NDR Western Link revised route

An indication of how the route of the Norwich Western Link will need to change to avoid roosting maternity bats. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

A report which would have revealed how the route of the mooted Norwich Western Link road will need to be moved - and how much that will add to the bill - has been delayed.

County Hall officers have been working on an alternative route for a section of the 3.8-mile route of the £198m road and were due to reveal details next month.

The need for a route shift came after surveys confirmed the presence of barbastelle bats roosting in woodland - something opponents of the scheme had long warned about.

The details of how the route could have to change and the cost was due to come before members of Norfolk County Council's Conservative-controlled cabinet in June.

But the council has confirmed all the necessary work has yet to be completed - so that report will be delayed by a month.

It will now come before councillors in July, instead of June.

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council Member for Highways, Infrastructure and Transport. Picture: Dan

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport - Credit: Danielle Booden

Martin Wilby, the council's cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, revealed the delay in an email sent to interested parties.

He said the project team had "made some good progress" but that "they need a few more weeks in order to provide a comprehensive update to me and my cabinet colleagues".

He said: "I appreciate there is a great deal of interest in the project and that people are keen to know the latest information.

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"Major infrastructure projects are complex and it’s important that we continue to balance the desire to move forward with taking a thorough and considered approach to the work required."

The council is waiting to learn if the government will approve its outline business case for the road - and cover £168m of its cost.

The Western Link, if approved, would connect the A1067 Fakenham Road to the A47 near Honingham.

The section in question is to the north of the route and includes the stretch where a viaduct will cross the River Wensum.

The delay comes at a time when the county council's blueprint for transport, which includes the Western Link, is facing a potential legal challenge.

Law firm, Leigh Day, has written to County Hall warning that Andrew Boswell, former Green county and city councillor, is on the brink of seeking a judicial review over the Local Transport Plan.