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Norwich City Council agrees to give its backing to ‘missing western link’ of NDR

PUBLISHED: 14:45 13 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:45 13 July 2018

City councillors want the impact of the Western Link on the river Wensum in Norwich to be investigated. Pic: DENISE BRADLEY

City councillors want the impact of the Western Link on the river Wensum in Norwich to be investigated. Pic: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

City councillors have backed calls for the “missing link” connecting the Broadland Northway to the A47 to the west of the city.

Consultation over whether people want to see a Western Link to connect the Northern Distributor Road to the A47 to the west of the city has closed. Pic: Norfolk County Council.Consultation over whether people want to see a Western Link to connect the Northern Distributor Road to the A47 to the west of the city has closed. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

However, fears remain over the impact it could have on the Wensum, the main river flowing through the city.

Members of Norwich City Council’s cabinet voted to give their full support to the Western Link proposals last night, which were unveiled shortly after the opening of the £205m new road, which stretches from the A47 at Postwick to the A1067 Fakenham Road.

However, its support comes with certain conditions, including that a thorough assessment of the environmental impacts any scheme would have on the river Wensum is carried out.

Mike Stonard, cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, said: “The case for the Western Link is not just economic, it also supports our policies to reduce congestion and traffic levels in the west of the city.

“Over the years we have seen the negative impact on this city from poor transport links, from the loss of the Nestle factory in the 1980s to the recent loss of both Britvic and Unilever. Equally, this council is committed to protecting and enhancing the natural environment.

“The Wensum Strategy states that if the western link progresses, its environmental impact on the Wensum should be fully addressed and mitigated.”

Denise Carlo, leader of the Norwich Green group, said there would have to be “imperative reason of overriding public interest” for the road to be built across the river Wensum conservation area.

She said: “The Wensum is one of Europe’s most important chalk rivers, which bears comparison with a Grade I listed building of similar importance to Norwich Cathedral.”

She also questioned how the Western link would address problems with air quality in the county.

Mr Stonard replied: “Building a continuous road with less need for vehicles braking would reduce the level of poor air quality, in my view.”

He added that the city council would raise any further environmental issues that arise in the planing process of the road with County Hall.

Members of the cabinet unanimously agreed to give the city council’s support to the Western Link in its response to the consultation.

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