Project to improve links between Norwich and the Broads back on track
Sarah HallFears that an ambitious multi-million pound project to create a network and foot and cycle paths linking Norwich to the Broads could founder have been allayed - after a crucial document was signed to breathe new life into the scheme.Sarah Hall
Fears that an ambitious multi-million pound project to create a network and foot and cycle paths linking Norwich to the Broads could founder have been allayed - after a crucial document was signed to breathe new life into the scheme.
The Norwich River Gateway project has been hit by the recession and earlier this year councils were accused of a lack of urgency in ensuring the scheme went ahead.
Previously known as Whitlingham Bridges and Links (Norwich Connect2), the scheme, put forward by sustainable transport charity Sustrans, won a TV vote in 2007 to bring �50m to 79 communities across the UK to create routes for people travelling by foot and bike.
The Big Lottery Fund earmarked �900,000 from the Big Lottery Fund, but there was concern that the momentum had been lost as the economic climate worsened and with a time limit of five years to spend the money the lack of progress had been criticised.
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However, a memorandum of understanding was yesterday signed by Nigel Brigham, Sustrans regional director for the East of England, and Jerry Massey, Norwich City Council's director of regeneration and development, which should give the scheme fresh impetus.
The agreement confirms the partners' continued commitment to the Norwich River Gateway project, which is estimated to cost between �3.8 and �6.3m.
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Mr Brigham 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.'
Brian Morrey, deputy leader of Norwich City Council and portfolio holder for sustainable city development, 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.'
The project would see traffic free paths built between the city centre, Thorpe St Andrew and Whitlingham.
Do you think Norwich needs better routes for cyclists and walkers? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email firstname.lastname@example.org