Your questions answered
Throughout the development of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NDR), there has been sustained local pressure for provision of a Norwich Western Link (NWL) to connect the A47 (west of Norwich) to the A1067 (Fakenham Road) to ease traffic problems in the local area and enhance strategic connectivity.
The NDR will significantly change the way the existing road network is used, however there are a range of other considerations that now also need to be considered, including proposals by Highways England to dual the section of A47 between Easton and North Tuddenham, the approval of a new Food Hub at Easton/Honingham, and the wider Local Plan Review.
Feedback from communities to the west of Norwich is that they are concerned about increasing levels of traffic and the impact this has on their communities and quality of life. They are also concerned about the possible impact they think the NDR will have. The impact of the NDR will need to be based on actual monitored data, which will not be available until after a period of traffic redistribution following the opening of the road.
We are running a public consultation between Tuesday, 8 May and Tuesday, 3 July 2018 and, at this stage, we would like people’s views on any transport issues that exist to the west of Norwich and what, if anything, needs to be done to improve transport links or provision in this part of the county.
The first step in the process is to establish a range of options. As part of the consideration of the options, the project costs for each will need to be reviewed.
We believe a Norwich Western Link could give residents, businesses, visitors and people travelling through the area for work a number of important benefits, including:
- Helping to encourage investment into Norfolk and encouraging further economic growth
- Removing considerable traffic from our congested suburban city streets and outer ring road west of the city
- Adding to the benefits that dualling the A47 will bring
- Reducing rat-running in villages to the west of Norwich, improving quality of life
- Improving people’s living environment
- Improving links and journey time reliability to the west and north of the county
- Improving transport links to the A47 and beyond to the Midlands (including better connectivity to Norwich Airport)
- Improving connectivity to the hospital, university and major employment areas at the Norwich Research Park
We are committed to examining all the options available. We are carrying out a public consultation between May and July 2018 to find out people’s views on what, if any, transport issues exist in the area and whether improvements are needed before we propose any specific solutions. Visit Have your say to find out more.
The study area also includes the Wensum Valley and a number of environmental designations, including a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), designated due to its international importance in biodiversity conservation. The River Wensum, running through the study area, is designated as both an SAC and as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
We are therefore very mindful of the impact a Norwich Western Link could have on the Wensum Valley and, as part of the technical work, detailed environment assessments following industry best practice and standards will be completed to understand the environmental impact of any options considered. This will also include an assessment of any mitigation and enhancement measures that can be embedded into the design of any proposed scheme to address any potential environmental impacts.
We have and will continue to seek advice from and consult with the key statutory environmental bodies, the Environment Agency (EA) and Natural England (NE) as any options are proposed and developed.
The NWL area incorporates a mixture of land uses, including rural farmland, parkland, the River Wensum, River Tud, residential areas and business/retail uses.
An assessment of all the land ownership parcels to understand the scale and number of land owners will be undertaken for all options considered.
The funding strategy for a NWL is yet to be defined and work to develop this will need to form part of any future stages of work,once we have identified some possible options.
We are committed to considering all possible transport options, and that includes providing new or improved facilities for walkers and cyclists.
Highways England (HE) made their preferred route announcements for the dualling of the North Tuddenham to Easton stretch of the A47, west of Norwich, on 4 August 2017. The alignment broadly follows the existing A47 single carriageway alignment, but moves the road slightly north as it passes Honingham and slightly south as it passes Hockering, crossing the old A47 at a point between Sandy Lane and Wood Lane. This alignment has the potential advantage of retaining much of the existing local road network, which should therefore minimise the impact of the project during construction.
At this time the junction strategy has not been provided and this is to be developed as part of the detailed design work which will be consulted by Highways England during 2018.
It is therefore still unclear what impact the A47 dual carriageway project will have on a Norwich Western Link, however it is becoming clearer, and the preferred route alignment does retain the connectivity due to its location on the north side of the existing A47 between Easton and Honingham. Further work by HE is ongoing and this will also provide further key information for the Western Link project. It is clearly significant, and we will continue to work closely with HE as these details are developed.
Broadland District Council (BDC) has progressed a Local Development Order to help facilitate a Food Enterprize Zone (FEZ). The FEZ is located to the west of Easton village and just south of the existing A47. FEZs are a government initiative introduced by the Dept for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), with the aim to:
- Enhance rural development through the growth of food businesses in a particular location, be it producers, processors, retailers and/or manufacturers
- Encourage greater collaboration between food and farming businesses, and even encourage links to research and education institutions, in order to develop the domestic food and farming sector
- Allow local decision making, particularly for planning and development
- Attract inward investment
The LDO is being progressed to provide planning permission and allow greater flexibility for new business-related development to locate within the site. The proposed LDO was considered at BDC’s Cabinet meeting on 23 May 2017, where it was agreed to be adopted subject to the outcome of a Screening Direction from the Secretary of State and a Section 106 obligation. This process has now concluded and the LDO has been made.
We are carrying out a public consultation between May and July 2018 to find out people’s views on what, if any, transport issues exist in the area and whether improvements are needed before we propose any specific solutions. Visit Have your say to find out more.
We are committed to considering all possible transport options and that includes improving the current road network in the area.