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Council hoping that government will be flexible over specifics

Norwich was one of the eight cities named by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as eligible to receive a share of £114m of funding via Cycle City Ambition grants. However, EDP 24 reports that the council has just one month to present their bid to the Department for Transport (DfT) and that £8.4m could be in jeopardy as a consequence.

The council say that a month is a short space of time in which to identify the specific schemes the money will be spent on. They asked the DfT if they could have more time, but were told this was not possible.

“There is a chicken and egg issue, but we have got to produce a proposal which meets the Department for Transport approval,” said Mike Stonard, cabinet member for environment, development and transport.

The government has acknowledged that there are time constraints and it is hoped that flexibility will be shown with regards to precise details. “Hopefully we will be able to produce another high quality scheme and put Norwich right back on the map for cyclists,” said Stonard.

The council is currently in the middle of its Push the Pedalways scheme, a £5.7m programme of improvements to the eight-mile pink pedalway cycle route between the Norwich Research Park and Heartsease as well as the connections leading to it.

As part of improvements, funding has been allocated that would see 20mph zones introduced in the city centre, The Avenues and Heartsease. While The Avenues section has already been approved, consultation is currently underway for the city centre and will begin for Heartsease on Monday January 19.

A decision on the proposals relating to Tombland and Palace Street has been deferred until the 22 January meeting to allow interested parties to consider the findings of a newly-published safety audit report.

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