Your front page on October 30th ran the bold headline ‘Bypass Faces Opinion Test’ and informed readers that Norfolk County Councillor Graham Plant intended to test public opinion on the Norwich Northern Development Road (NNDR) in the current Big Conversation consultation on council cuts. I am writing to inform anyone who has sought to respond to the Big Conversation on this issue that I have been advised by Council officials that the NNDR item has in fact not been included in the consultation, or the website, after all.
This U-turn is very disappointing as there are many reasons why members of the public may wish to give views to the Council on the NNDR including:
· well over £10 million has already been spent on designing the road, but the government has recently removed any obligation to fund the £129m necessary to build it;
· further costly design work would likely cost the Council at least £2 million next year to bid again to the Government although the funding pot is now much smaller;
· this costly consultancy and design work competes with other essential services including those that help the vulnerable. Can it be justified when the Council is planning to cut all Youth services, all services to adults with substantial needs, and £12m from family support services next year?
· the road is clearly a ‘development road’, and if it were to go ahead, it will lead to massive new housing growth in North East Norwich in order to fund it;
· the Norwich area needs better public transport infrastruture and every penny spent on the road is money diverted from being spent improving public transport.
As County Hall is, once again, ducking seeking honest public opinion on whether the road is wanted or not, this email address email@example.com is available for members of the public who wish to express their views. All emails sent to it will be redirected to Councillor Plant and I suggest your readers use it to send their views directly to him.
County Councillor Andrew Boswell,
Norwich Green Party,