We received the following email from Cllr Graham Plant, NCC:

“Following on from the great news in mid-October that we have received a funding commitment of more than £200 million from the Government for the Norwich Western Link, we’re getting this important infrastructure project moving forward again.

“We’ve published a cabinet report this afternoon with an update on the project and the proposed next steps, which include submitting the planning application early next year. While a lot of work had already been done on the planning application documents over several months, the project team are currently reviewing and updating these now that we have more certainty over the timing of their submission and the subsequent timings for the project.

“The cabinet report sets out what we will need to include in the planning application. These documents will be published in full after we have submitted them to the planning authority, which in this instance is Norfolk County Council, but this is an entirely separate part of the authority to the project team. The planning authority will then run their own statutory public consultation on the planning application, so everyone will have the opportunity to view and comment on the proposals at that stage.

“Once the planning application is finalised and submitted, the project team would then make and publish a Compulsory Purchase Order, for land required for the project, and a Side Roads Order, which would authorise the County Council as the highways authority to make alterations to roads and highways, including public rights of way. The cabinet report published today also gives details on these processes, and includes maps showing the land we will require for the project – whether on a temporary or permanent basis – and the existing roads that will need to be altered in some way.

“Due to the delay in receiving the funding commitment from central government, and also as a result of factoring in information that has been confirmed as the project has developed, the anticipated timetable for the project has been pushed back. It is now expected that initial works will start in late 2025, with the start of main construction works in summer 2026 and the road open for use in 2029.

“For the same reasons, the budget for the project has been revised to £273.9 million, an increase of £22.8 million from the previous budget agreed in July 2022. However, the Department for Transport have indicated that they could provide funding of up to 100 per cent of the costs set out at Outline Business Case stage, which stood at £251.1 million. If the government provided £251.1 million of funding, the local contribution required towards the overall cost of the project would be less than previously anticipated even with the overall budget increase.

“I know delays and cost increases are frustrating and I know many people want to see this road built now, to tackle the traffic problems that exist to the west of Norwich and so that the wide range of benefits it will provide can be achieved at the earliest opportunity. It’s the responsible thing to do to keep project budgets and timetables under review and to adjust them as more information is known, and to respond to wider influences. And it’s important to do this in order to put ourselves in a strong position to get this road built, and built in the right way.

“I hope this provides information that is helpful but, if you want to, you can also read the cabinet report on our website here – the link in full is also included beneath my signature. With government backing secured and the planning application documents in the process of being finalised, we are making good progress and getting closer to making the Norwich Western Link a reality.

“The cabinet report will be considered by me and my cabinet colleagues at a meeting on Monday 4 December, and I’ll email you again that day to make you aware of the outcome of the meeting and the next steps from there.”

Cllr Graham Plant
Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure
Norfolk County Council

About Michael Hill

Wreningham Parish Council Chair

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