Council signs agreement with UK's leading sustainable transport charity...

A network of foot and cycle paths linking the city of Norwich to the Broads is one step closer to being reality after a crucial document was signed earlier this week.

In 2007 Sustrans' Connect2 won the TV vote to bring £50million from the Big Lottery Fund to 79 communities across the UK to create networks for everyday journeys for people travelling by foot or bike. One of the projects being funded is the Norwich River Gateway.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Nigel Brigham, who is East of England Regional Director for sustainable transport charity Sustrans, and Jerry Massey, Norwich City Council's Director of Regeneration and Development.

It confirms the partners' continued commitment to the project and pledges a contribution of £900,000 from the Big Lottery Fund towards the overall project costs which are estimated between £3.8 - 6.3 million.

The project, previously known as 'Whitlingham Bridges and Links (Norwich Connect2)' has been renamed 'Norwich River Gateway' by a panel representing all partners involved in the scheme.

Nigel Brigham of Sustrans said: "This is the biggest and most complicated of the Connect2 schemes in the region and could bring enormous benefits, so we are delighted that it has moved another step forward with the completion of this agreement. There is a long way to go and this scheme has been hit by the recession, but momentum is starting to build again and we are looking forward to seeing real progress."

The scheme has been closely developed with the local community and local walkers and cyclists and has been made possible through the enormous popular support for Sustrans' Connect2

Councillor Brian Morrey, Project Champion and Cabinet Member of Norwich City Council, said: "The signing of this document means we are a significant step closer to the reality of the Norwich River Gateway scheme. We are exploring various routes to secure the additional funding required and we remain optimistic about this project."

For more information about Sustrans visit www.sustrans.org.uk.