Plans for 3.8 mile dual carriageway to the west of Norwich approved by government

A link between Norwich's Broadland Northway (NDR) and the A47 has received government approval.

The road, dubbed the Norwich Western Link by Norfolk County Council (NCC), would span a 3.8 mile gap to the west of the city.

On Friday, 15 May the Department for Transport (DfT) approved NCC's business case, meaning it is now officially part of the government's funding considerations.

The chosen route would leave the NDR at its western extremity and join the A47 near Honingham.

NCC's cabinet member for highways, Councillor Martin Wilby, claimed building the road could boost the region's economy after the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: "This announcement and funding commitment is really positive news from the DfT.

"Investing in infrastructure improvements will be a vital part of supporting Norfolk’s economy to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, with the provision of good transport links critical to many of our major industries such as tourism, agriculture and manufacturing and engineering."

A map showing the planned link road Credit: Norfolk County Council

There has been a vocal campaign against the Western Link from environmentalists who fear the impact the development would have on the Wensum Valley.

A petition page set up by David Pett claims it would also cost the taxpayer too much.

He wrote: "The [Western Link] will not relieve congestion on village roads. It will not prove to be fit for purpose due to confusing, inadequate and unreliable traffic movement data.

"It will not be cheap. It could cost as much as £300 million. NCC will need to borrow money to pay for part of it. This will increase its annual interest commitment that currently costs Council Tax payers £28 million each year.

"This will inevitably impact on the delivery of other Council services such as the provision of care. It will devastate a jewel in the Norfolk Countryside."

The council plan to span the Wensum using a bridge, and have defended the road's environmental impact.

For the authority, the next step is to submit a more detailed business case to the DfT; if that is approved NCC estimate it could unlock around £130m of funding.

They are hoping to complete the road - which is estimated to cost £153m in total - by 2025; it would be the final stretch of a dual carriageway orbital route around the city.