Norwich’s NDR moves a step closer

Councillors have agreed to an extra £10m to help fill a funding gap for the Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NDR).

It emerged last month that the cost of the 12.5 mile road, stretching from the A47 at Postwick to the A1067 Fakenham Road, had increased from £148.5m to £178.5m.

Norfolk County Council cited construction cost inflation and design changes for the £30m hike and approached the government asking for help.

The government said it was prepared to provide £10m and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership signalled it would ask its members to provide a further £10m.

And, at an extraordinary meeting of the county council today, councillors agreed its £10m share should come from reserves and from the highways budget for the next four years.

Labour leader George Nobbs said: “I know I speak for most councillors when I say the NDR is a much cherished scheme which has the majority backing of all parties except the Greens. We have been pushing for this vital infrastructure for a decade and it is within our grasp.”

UKIP leader Toby Coke said: “We must look forward with ambition and there must be no dithering.”

Conservative group leader Cliff Jordan and Liberal Democrat group leader Marie Strong also voiced their support, although a number of UKIP councillors spoke against allocating the £10m for the scheme.

Councillors voted 59 to 8 in favour, with three abstentions.

The LEP board will meet next week to decide whether to agree its £10m share.

Initial work on the road is due to start in October, with full blown construction starting in February or March next year.

Caroline Williams CEO Norfolk Chamber of Commerce said:”We very much welcome this decision from the County Council and would encourage the NALEP Board to agree to its £10m share next week.  The NDR will bring significant economic benefits to Norwich and Norfolk which will assist the business community to create and retain jobs so important to our local economy.”

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