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Claims Norwich has 'ground to a halt' as county Conservatives look to seize back powers over traffic work

PUBLISHED: 06:00 21 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:31 23 January 2019

Norfolk County Council wants to take back powers for highways and traffic work in Norwich .
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norfolk County Council wants to take back powers for highways and traffic work in Norwich . Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Norwich has "ground to a halt" because of efforts to keep cars out of the city centre, a councillor claimed, as Conservative county councillors voted to seize powers over traffic back from City Hall.

Since the 1970s, there has been an agreement between Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council over highways and traffic work.

County Hall delegated authority to the city council for work, including over pot-holes, highway improvements and maintenance and civil parking enforcement.

But members of the county’s environment, development and transport committee voted to terminate the agreement in 12 months time, after which all work will be done by the county.

It will see the Norwich joint highways agency committee, made up of city and county councillors scrapped, with city councillors worried they will lose their voice on highways issues in Norwich.

Bev Spratt, Conservative county councillor for West Depwade. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Bev Spratt, Conservative county councillor for West Depwade. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

Conservative county councillor Bev Spratt, who represents West Depwade, said: “I’ve seen a leaflet going round saying Norwich has ground to a halt under Labour and I’d agree with that.

“What I think about the city council is they have closed all these roads, but rural people who spend a lot of money in Norwich have not been represented or consulted.

“I have had to turn around and go home when I’ve tried to come into Norwich because bus lanes have been closed off and I couldn’t park at Chapelfield.

“Personally, I think by us doing this we will save Norwich from all these closures and roadworks.”

Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council's cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth. Photo : Steve AdamsMike Stonard, Norwich City Council's cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth. Photo : Steve Adams

Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth and vice chair of Norwich Highways Agency Committee said: “Norfolk County Council has always had the final say on transport schemes in Norwich through its casting vote on the joint highways committee.

“While we will continue to work positively with our county colleagues on future projects, it is disappointing that members representing the city itself will no longer have a direct say on its transport network.

“In terms of delivering the Transport for Norwich programme and our application to the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund, we are committed to working with the county council and other Greater Norwich partners to secure the funding we need to make the sustainable transport improvements to the city, as outlined in our original bid.”

He added that Mr Spratt had given the committee incorrect information.

He said many of the changes were made through the Transport for Norwich partnership, separate to the highways agreement - and made jointly by the county and city council.

He said: “The issues he’s complained about have been put in place by a committee where Conservative county councillors have the majority vote, so he’s criticising his own council and party colleagues.”

He added: “Norwich is not closed. All towns and cities have been hit by internet shopping, but Norwich is doing well compared to many.”

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