Norfolk cuts £1m from cycling, walking & buses to spend on computer modelling new road

… a road that may never be built says Better Transport Campaign

by Mark Appleton   January 28, 2011  

norwich.jpg

The Campaign for Better Transport has claimed that Norfolk County Council is about to spend £1.7m on computer modelling for a link road scheme it cannot pay for while simultaneously axing integrated transport initiatives that would promote cycling and walking.

“Norfolk had planned to spend just under £1 million building new zebra crossings, adding more cycle parking and sprucing up Norwich's buses. But it's just announced that spending on these programmes will be 'deferred', as part of its plans to introduce cuts totalling £60 million,” writes the Campaign’s Richard George in his blog.

The council has questioned the £1.7m figure – which Richard says includes work on the link road’s junction – but has conceded to road.cc that £750,000 has been allocated for possible spend related to the Northern Distributor Road scheme and that it will be reducing the number of improvement schemes it is undertaking in order to focus on road maintenance.

“We have allocated £750,000 for the coming financial year to spend related to the Northern Distributor Road. That allocation is an estimate based on what work may be required by Department for Transport as part of the Delivery Pool process,” a council spokesman told us.

“The Northern Distributor Road will deliver significant benefits to the economy of Norwich and Norfolk and will greatly reduce rat-running in the northern suburbs. The scheme is one of a number which the Government sees as potentially worthy of central Govt support, but because of the big cuts in public spending has asked for further investigatory work to be carried out ahead of a final decision in the Autumn,” the spokesman told road.cc.

He conceded to us, however, that maintaining the existing transport infrastructure would take precedence over improving Norfolk’s integrated transport system.

“A recent review of the highways capital programme suggested that due to the maintenance backlog, a reduced integrated transport (improvement schemes) programme should be implemented," the spokesman told us.

He continued: “Therefore it was recommended that the recent practice of reallocating £1m from integrated transport to structural maintenance is significantly increased to give much more emphasis to maintaining the existing asset, and to allocate £2m to highway improvements but to retain flexibility to increase this to £3m by reducing the structural maintenance allocations if major scheme cost pressures emerge.”

The Campaign for Better Transport argues that this approach is short-sighted and fails to tackle the long term problems of congested roads.

“I know that Norfolk considers a major ring road to be ‘an integral part of our plans to improve the local public transport network and reduce reliance on the private car,’” writes Richard George. He continues: “But seriously: stop wasting public money on this thing, especially when it comes at the expense of projects which would genuinely improve transport in Norwich.”

 

1 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Stoke CC have spent something like £5m over the last 10 years or so on repeated rebidding/redesigns of a public transport trunk road (that was supposedly going to provide a highly efficient public transport only route connecting various parts of the city, including the rail station which is quite a distance from the City's main shopping area). This was abandoned last year due to ongoing cost and proposed cost of the scheme. In the meantime they continue to pursue a major city centre retail/leisure redevelopment which supposedly will keep locals local and attract in outside area shoppers. Even though as I stated the rail station is 30 minutes walk from the city centre and not even an obvious walk.

Councils are just as short sighted as big Government on all sorts of issues, but public/cycling and pedestrain transport seems to be getting it in the neck all over.

No surprise there then, all hail King Car!

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [399 posts]
28th January 2011 - 14:12

3 Likes