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'It's a very special place' - fear for beauty spot if new bus link happens

PUBLISHED: 12:14 12 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:43 12 November 2019

The River Yare, near the UEA. Pic: Archant Library.

The River Yare, near the UEA. Pic: Archant Library.

Archant Library

Concerns have been raised about a mooted new link to enable buses to get from the University of East Anglia to Norwich Research Park - because of the impact on the Yare Valley.

Norwich city councillor Judith Lubbock. Pic: Sonya DuncanNorwich city councillor Judith Lubbock. Pic: Sonya Duncan

The possibility of such a route has been raised in the bid by Transport for Norwich for millions of pounds from the government through its Transforming Cities scheme.

A cross valley link is one of dozens of potential schemes which council officers are hoping could get a share of a £1.2bn fund.

The idea is that a direct connection across the Yare Valley, from the western end of Chancellors Drive at the UEA, would mean buses would not have to go via Earlham Road to serve the UEA, research park and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

But Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat Norwich city councillor for Eaton, raised her concerns about such a route when the Norfolk Bus Forum met in Norwich at the weekend.

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She said: "It's a very special place, the Yare Valley, and we try very hard to protect it. I think, for the very small amount of journey time you'd save by going across the Yare Valley, I cannot see the saving would be worth the destruction."

Jeremy Wiggin, from Norfolk County Council, replied: "We accept there are difficulties and concerns about that scheme. At this stage of the application it is in there. It doesn't mean it will be granted funding.

"There is more work that would need to be done to get that scheme off the ground and that's something the government is fully aware of."

The Greater Norwich area was previously awarded just over £6m in the first tranche of money from the government's fund.

But council officers hope for millions more in the next round, with programmes for £75m, £95m and £162m to be lodged in this month's application.

The application includes proposals to revamp Castle Meadow, to create mobility hubs for people using public transport, to expand Thickthorn Park and Ride, improve the Fiveways roundabout at Heartsease and for new bus priority measures to speed up public transport.

A decision on which of the 12 cities which are in the mix to get money - and how much they will receive - is expected to be announced in March next year.

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