Results of consultation shows strong support for a new Norwich Western Link

10 August 2018

The results of a recent consultation into transport issues to the west of Norwich show there is strong public support for a new link between the A47 and Broadland Northway.

The Norfolk County Council consultation ran for eight weeks between May and July and asked people to identify any transport problems that exist to the west of the city and what, if anything, they thought could tackle these problems.

The consultation was held to gather evidence on long-standing concerns about traffic congestion on roads and in communities in this area, and in response to calls from many people to fill in what they see as the ‘missing link’ between the A47 and Broadland Northway (previously called the Northern Distributor Road or ‘NDR’), where it meets the Fakenham Road (A1067).

A report produced for the County Council by Commonplace, the organisation which hosted the consultation, shows the majority of people who took part in the consultation believe a new road linking the A47 to Broadland Northway would help tackle transport issues in the area. This option was selected more than three times as much as the next most popular option, ‘Improving existing roads’.

The full breakdown of responses to this question, showing how many people selected each option, is as follows:

People were asked ‘Although one potential option to tackle transport issues in this area is to build a new road we are committed to examining all of the possible options.  Which options would you like us to explore?’

  • New road linking NDR to A47 - 1,262
  • Improving existing roads - 398
  • Improving public transport - 268
  • Improving cycling routes - 255
  • New cycling route linking NDR to A47 - 239
  • Traffic calming on existing routes - 176
  • Better walking routes - 153
  • New walking route linking NDR to A47 - 119
  • Other - 25
  • Do nothing - 24

Cllr Martin Wilby, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Environment, Development and Transport Committee, said:  “People have sent us a clear message about what they want to see happen to improve travel in the area to the west of Norwich.

“It’s important that whatever options we come up with to tackle the transport problems that exist take account of the first-hand experiences of those people who live, work or travel regularly in this area.  We had a really good response to the consultation, which has confirmed what people see as the major transport issues and also suggested where some of the main problem areas are.  So this provides us with lots of evidence that we can consider alongside other information when deciding which options are likely to be the most effective.”

The Commonplace report with more analysis is available to read on Norfolk County Council’s website at www.norfolk.gov.uk/nwl.

Further work to analyse the ‘free text’ information given as part of the consultation is still ongoing, including going through the 773 comments people ‘pinned’ to a consultation map to highlight problems in specific locations.

Norfolk County Council will use the information from the consultation as well as other data and evidence to help propose some options to improve travel in the area to the west of Norwich.  A further consultation on these is likely to take place later this year.

The County Council made providing a Norwich Western Link one of its three infrastructure priorities in 2016, along with the Third River Crossing in Great Yarmouth and Long Stratton Bypass.

Since then, a number of changes have taken place or been announced – Broadland Northway is fully open and helping to reduce journey times, a section of the A47 between North Tuddenham and Easton is set to be dualled by Highways England by 2022, and plans for a Food Enterprise Park at Easton are progressing.  All these changes, the growth they will enable and the effect they are likely to have on the way people travel around the county will need to be considered as the County Council comes up with options for a Norwich Western Link.

About the consultation

The Norwich Western Link consultation had two elements – a text-based ‘Initial Views’ questionnaire and a complementary map on which people could highlight transport issues in specific locations.

The Initial View consultation received more than 1,700 responses while more than 750 comments from just over 530 contributors were ‘pinned’ to the consultation map.

People who took part in the consultation identified which transport problems were a particular issue in the area to the west of Norwich. The top three issues people selected were:

  • Roads not suitable for level of traffic (selected by 1,171 people)
  • Rat-running (selected by 934 people)
  • Slow journey times (selected 846 people)

People were also asked which issues the County Council should consider when planning any transport improvements in the area.  The top three issues people selected were:

  • Reducing congestion (selected by 960 people)
  • Reducing rat-running (selected by 944 people)
  • Shortening journey times (selected by 865 people)

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