Petition supporting Western Link gains hundreds of signatures

Costessey town councillor Gary Blundell and the Fakenham Road

Costessey town councillor Gary Blundell (inset) has created a petition in support of the Western Link's construction. - Credit: Danielle Booden

A petition supporting the controversial Western Link road has gained more than 600 signatures in just two days.

It has been launched by Gary Blundell, a town councillor in Costessey, near the proposed route, who says it reflects the views of many people who live in the area.

He said much of the opposition to the road had come from “people who do not live in the areas affected by the lack of building it”.

The £198m road - which would connect the A47 with the Norwich Distributor Road - has been hotly debated in recent weeks.

Prominent figures like Stephen Fry and Chris Packham have stated their opposition, and Norwich City Council has said it will not back the plan. 

But Mr Blundell's petition has quickly attracted hundreds of signatures. 

Gary Blundell, vice chairman of Costessey Town Council

Gary Blundell, vice chairman of Costessey Town Council - Credit: Danielle Booden

Mr Blundell wrote on the change.org website that the Norwich Distributor Road being only three quarters complete “has increased traffic in many areas outside Norwich city centre”, which has caused “increasing rat running, congestion and pollution”.

He added: “Finishing the last quarter is a sensible idea alongside environmental improvements and safeguarding.”

Fakenham Road where the proposed Western Link route would join just before the roundabout. Picture:

Fakenham Road where the proposed Western Link route would join just before the roundabout. Picture: Daielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

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“The small roads were not designed for the sheer amount of traffic and heavy vehicles now using them to get from one side or Norwich to the other,” he added.

Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways, Martin Wilby, said: “This petition and the comments being left on it reflect the daily experiences of people who live in or travel through the area to the west of Norwich, and what we have been told by local residents for years.

Martin Wilby

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways and infrastructure. - Credit: Denise Bradley

“Traffic congestion, long delays, air pollution – this is what people are dealing with and, with significant housing and job growth planned in Greater Norwich, it will get worse without the Norwich Western Link.

“I want those people to know we hear them and are committed to solving these issues and bringing about many benefits for Norfolk by delivering this vital link road.”

Opponents of the project are largely concerned about its environmental impact and financial cost. 

Earlier this week, the broadcaster Chris Packham said the road would cause irreparable damage - and that it  posed an unjustifiable threat to a 'super colony' of rare Barbastelle bats living in a woodland between Weston Longville and Ringland.

Chris Packham on the set of Winterwatch at Wild Ken Hill in Snettisham. Picture: Danielle Booden

TV naturalist Chris Packham has urged Norfolk County Council to think again over its proposed western link road for Norwich - Credit: Danielle Booden

Norfolk-born broadcaster and comedian Stephen Fry was also among 23 people to sign an open letter against the road.

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry - Credit: Simon Finlay

Extinction Rebellion Norwich, Friends of the Earth Norwich and other organisations are holding a 'Witness the Wensum' protest event on Saturday, January 29 - which they hope more than 100 people will attend.