Almost £2m spent on homes and land blighted by NDR Western Link

Pump Farm was bought by Norfolk County Council

Norfolk County Council spent £1.2m to buy Pump Farm, on the route of the NDR Western Link road. - Credit: Dan Grimmer

Almost £2m of taxpayers' cash has been spent to buy buildings and land along the route of the proposed Norwich Western Link.

Norfolk County Council has paid out after owners said property would be blighted by the £153m road.

The council's Conservative-controlled cabinet agreed a 3.9-mile route, to connect the A47 to the Northern Distributor Road in July 2019.

The route of the proposed Norwich Western Link road

The route of the Western Link. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

The road would go from the A1067, near the NDR, travelling halfway between Weston Longville and Ringland.

It would link to the A47 at a new junction at Wood Lane near Honingham, with a 720-metre-long viaduct over the River Wensum.

Permission and funding has yet to be secured and a decision on submitting a business case to the government, due to be made at a meeting on Monday, March 8, has been delayed.

The council has confirmed it has spent £1.99m to buy two homes, with associated land, plus one woodland plot, after the owners served blight notices on the council.

Such notices force the council to buy the properties, because the new road would reduce their sale value.

The council's cabinet agreed a year ago to pay the owners of Pump Lane Farm, at Weston Longville,  £1.2m for their 13-acre land, along with a home loss payment and disturbance costs.

But more than £675,000 has also been spent to buy a property called Woodstock, in Fakenham Road, Attlebridge.

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A council spokeswoman said: "When councillors were asked to approve the preferred route, they were made aware progressing the project to this stage would give directly affected property owners the right to apply for their properties to be purchased due to blight.

"We have budgeted for making property purchases as a result of accepted blight notices in the overall project budget and these properties are now a council-owned asset which could be resold.

"This is something we are likely to consider for any unused property once construction is complete."

At a cabinet meeting on Monday, the opposition Labour group, which is opposing the road, will ask questions about its cost.

Steve Morphew, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group on Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Steve Morphew, Labour group leader, said: "We are asking the simple question ‘has the price gone up’? We are not asking for commercially sensitive details, just whether costs have increased."

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