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Western Link is ‘price worth paying’ to tackle rat running, say villagers

PUBLISHED: 14:25 31 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:25 31 July 2020

How Ringland Lane could look if traffic is removed. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

How Ringland Lane could look if traffic is removed. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Norfolk County Council

Councillors in a village close to the proposed Norwich Western Link say the road is “inevitable” and “a price worth paying”.

Ruth Goodall pictured looking across the Weston Longville countryside. Photo: Antony KellyRuth Goodall pictured looking across the Weston Longville countryside. Photo: Antony Kelly

Potential changes to roads and footpaths along the route of the Western Link Road were revealed this week - as a fresh bout of consultation on the route began.

And parish councillors in Weston Longville have welcomed plans for the new road, which will see a 3.8 mile dual carriageway linking the Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NDR) to the A47 west of Norwich.

READ MORE: Road changes mooted as new details about NDR Western Link revealed

But it is opposed by the Wensum Valley Alliance, the Green Party, County Hall Labour councillors and owners of woodland which would be destroyed by the road.

Clare Morton, parish council chairman, said: “For Weston Longville, it’s a very mixed view.

“The reality is that nobody really wants a dual carriageway at the end of their garden. But with the number of cars that travel through the parish, to sustain a reasonable quality of life, we are probably better off having traffic on a dual carriageway.

READ MORE: ‘Unaffordable and unjustifiable’ - Labour group adds its voice to NDR western link opposition

“The dual carriageway will get within a foot of the bottom of my garden. I’m really close to it but for me it is a price worth paying in order to preserve our village.”

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She added: “The road mitigation for sound and visual impact are easier for the council to manage than the rat running there is currently. It really would make a colossal difference.

READ MORE: Warnings ‘gold-plated’ Norwich Western Link could spark rise in rat running

“Covid-19 really brought it home to us. When lockdown first started the number of cars travelling through the village dropped to about the level of the traffic modelling for the Western Link.

“It was lovely. It really was so nice to be able to walk down country lanes without fearing you were going to be mown down.”

And Ruth Goodall, strategic transportation portfolio holder, said: “We were opposed to it but the reality is once the NDR was built than the final link becomes an inevitability.

READ MORE: Preferred route for Western Link, to connect NDR to A47, is agreed and could cost £153m

“You’ve got the NDR and the three minor roads trying to carry 20,000 vehicles a day.

“For people living along those roads its impossible to see that going on into the future.”

Martin Wilby, county council cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, invited people to contribute to the consultation on the project, saying: “We now want to see what everyone else thinks.”

READ MORE: Natural England threatened with legal action following bat survey licence change

• For full details of the eight-week consultation period, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/nwl.


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