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Plans to transform travel in Greater Norwich revealed

14 January 2020

Norfolk County Council has today published details of its proposals in a substantial funding bid to central government which, if successful, has the potential to transform travel in Greater Norwich.

The Transport for Norwich partnership is seeking an overall investment in the region of £100m through the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Transforming Cities Fund (TCF), which aims to make it easier for people to access jobs, training and retail, and responds to issues around carbon reduction and improving local air quality, with a strong focus on increasing use of public transport, walking and cycling.

If successful, the plans hope to generate an extra 4,000 bus trips per day and improve access to employment and learning for thousands of residents in the most deprived parts of the city, with bus passengers seeing reduced journey times, with more frequent services and connecting options.

By moving to more sustainable transport options the council hope to tackle congestion, reduce single car occupancy and achieve a 16,000 tonne reduction in Co2 across the city, with particular focus on current pollution hot spots.

This will support the ambitious 2030 carbon neutral target set in the council’s latest environment policy.

The transforming cities proposals, developed in partnership, have been widely supported by key stakeholders across the city, with some bus operators pledging to make significant fleet upgrades should funding be awarded, with the potential to introduce electric buses through other government funding sources.

Cllr Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways and infrastructure and chair of the transforming cities joint committee said: “This funding bid has the potential to deliver investment in sustainable transport infrastructure on an unprecedented scale, transforming how people travel around Norwich, boost the local economy and deliver real benefit in terms of health, employment and the environment for years to come.

“The level of support shown for our proposals is testament to the partnership approach that has got us to this point and the commitment to invest shown by bus operators is a clear indication of confidence in our joint approach to delivery”.

You can view full details of the current proposals including all letters of support on the council’s website at www.norfolk.gov.uk/transformingcities

A decision from the DfT is expected by the end of March 2020 and all funded schemes within the proposals will then be subject to further local consultation and detailed design.

The first project likely to get underway will involve a major remodelling of all city centre bus stops.

  • Transport for Norwich is a partnership between Norfolk County Council, Norwich City Council and the district authorities of Broadland and South Norfolk
  • The Transforming Cities Fund is a government fund totalling £1.2bn and Norwich is one of 12 cities on the shortlist to apply for funding.
    Download further background and details of schemes currently under delivery
  • Alongside this bid we have also submitted an application to fund further transport innovation that seeks to significantly reduce levels of single car occupancy in Norwich through The Future Mobility Zone (FMZ) fund. This bid includes an all electric fleet for park and ride services – with additional information in bus operators letters of support
  • The submitted bid contains three funding levels and all figures quoted in the release and executive summary are based on the ‘medium’ funding package

Partner quotes

Chris Speed, Head of operations at First Eastern Counties said: ” These are exciting times ahead for the region’s public transport with the submission of the Transforming Cities Bid. First Eastern Counties have been working closely with Norfolk County Council on many opportunities that could transform the attractiveness of public transport in the region. We have already made great strides in expanding our bus network, upgrading our fleet of buses and improving how customers pay for their travel with the introduction of contactless and mTicket payments which have been very successful and are now responsible for over 60% of all transactions on bus and we will look to build on this further should government funding be awarded.

Stefan Gurney, Executive Director of The Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) said: “The Norwich BID fully endorses the council’s proposals to deliver a sustainable high-quality integrated transport network. We see these proposals as a necessity to support the future growth aspirations of the city and business community and will improve social mobility for all residents through better access to education and employment.

Norwich BID has worked with all the partners on the Transforming Cities proposals and it is great that the outcomes are aligned with a shared strategic direction for the city and with the business and tourism ambitions for Norwich, this scale of investment in infrastructure can only help the city to grow.”

Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Clean growth is the ‘golden thread’ in our Local Industrial Strategy and we fully support this bid to increase sustainable transport in and around Norwich and Greater Norwich. This bid pinpoints key commuter corridors and shows how by delivering more sustainable transport routes we can improve access to jobs and training, boost social inclusion and improve air quality in the city. Access to the Transforming Cities Fund would deliver benefits which would be enjoyed by everyone in Norwich and beyond.”

Councillor Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for transport, says: “Investment in public transport is vital to support Greater Norwich as it grows and these proposals could make a significant difference to the quality of major bus routes into the city. Building on recent investment in the pedalways we can also look forward to an even better sustainable transport network for Norwich.”

South Norfolk Council Leader John Fuller said: “This is a massive boost for the area and local economy. The funding has the potential to greatly increase access to jobs, reduce congestion and improve our air quality. It will enable us to improve public transport links to our key employment sites around Norwich, such as the Norwich Research Park, the University of East Anglia and the hospital, and provide better integration of the tech corridor with the city transport network, giving local people much greater access to employment opportunities.”

Councillor Shaun Vincent, Leader of Broadland District Council, said: “This opportunity is another step in the right direction to drive economic success in the Greater Norwich area and match the demands of the business community. Economic growth is our priority and the potential for improved connectivity through this funding can only support this.”

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