Requests for new footpaths in Norwich on an 84-year waiting list
An expanding community on the outskirts of Norwich faces a long wait for a new footpath – 78 years to be exact.
Norfolk County Council has been overwhelmed by demands for new pavements, with 420 on the waiting list, but money is available to build just five this year.
If building does not speed up, those at the bottom of the list will have to wait 84 years, while Easton, near Norwich, faces a wait of 78 years before they can expect to see any action.
It means, at that rate, children in villages at the bottom of the list could be aged in their eighties by the time paths are built.
The council ranks requests for paths by counting the number of pedestrians and traffic flow over two hours, and looking at accident data to come up with a score.
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Easton Parish Council asked for a footpath 10 years ago along Dereham Road to link the village with Sainsbury's at the Longwater roundabout, but they are now number 392 on a list of 420.
The council's vice chairman, Brenda Daynes, said: 'The village has expanded so much and a lot of people walk to Sainsbury's. People can not walk in the road any more. It is pretty dangerous.'
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Between 600 to 800 homes could be built around Easton under South Norfolk Council's Local Development Framework (LDF).
Parish chairman Stephen Medler said: 'We have got Easton College with a lot of students who walk up to Sainsbury's and the McDonald's. We ought to have the infrastructure in first for once. A lot of people walk up on the side of the road and a lot of people cycle on there as well. Easton is only going to get bigger.'
The highest placed application on the waiting list for Norwich is in Costessey, with a request for path linking Folgate Close to Carr's Hill at number eight, and a footway from Carr's Hill to Townhouse Road at number 11.
The county council said a lack of money limited the amount of paths that could be built.
But requests for paths around new housing developments are unlikely to be added to the list.
It is hoped the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which is replacing section 106 money, will be used to build paths and pavements for new homes, including the 37,000 planned under the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP) by 2026.
A council spokesman said: 'Where there is a clear need identified because of a new development, then generally the expectation is that the contributions from the developers will cover that specific cost.'
The council has a �2m annual highway improvements, with �200,000 allocated to footways.
Graham Plant, cabinet member for planning and transportation, said: 'We have got to concentrate our resources on maintaining the condition of our roads and footways rather than building new ones.
'We may have avoided the severe winter damage we saw over the last two years, but we've got drought damage to fenland roads instead, and, so far, no extra support from the Government.
'We have to be as fair as we can in deciding where to spend such scarce resources, and the point score system helps us to do that.'
Mr Plant said the council had allocated �165,000 to a parish partnership highways improvement scheme, where the cost of 'small scale improvements' would be shared with parish councils.
To keep costs down many of the paths are being loose-finished rather than covered with asphalt.
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