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Deal puts bypass back on track

PUBLISHED: 13:18 22 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:50 12 July 2010

The long-awaited Long Stratton bypass looks certain to go ahead now a deal has been struck over where to put thousands of homes.

South Norfolk Council leader John Fuller said work could start on the new road within a few years bringing to an end decades of campaigning.

The long-awaited Long Stratton bypass looks certain to go ahead now a deal has been struck over where to put thousands of homes.

South Norfolk Council leader John Fuller said work could start on the new road within a few years bringing to an end decades of campaigning.

Bypass campaigner David Thornton said: “If this does bear out it is really good news for the village and the people who use the road. The sooner they can get it built the better.

“We all know people have campaigned for the road for decades. It is viable and should have been done in its own right irrespective of any new proposed development.”

The blueprint for building homes in the Greater Norwich area was agreed on December 18 at a meeting behind closed doors.

Under the deal, 1,800 homes will be built at Long Stratton - enough to ensure that a housing developer could be asked to contribute towards the cost of the much-needed road.

Mr Fuller said: “If we hadn't taken these steps then the Long Stratton bypass would have been off the table for the next 30 to 40 years.

“We will now work with the regional assembly to make sure that funding is available for work to start at the earliest opportunity.”

South Norfolk Council rubber-stamped the plans on Friday at a special meeting of its cabinet. Broadland and Norwich district councils have yet to meet to debate the plans.

The proposals will be tested by a planning inspector in January and will then be subjected to a further period of public consultation.

Mr Fuller said: “Subject to the endorsement of Norwich and Broadland cabinets and the planning inspector of the deal there would be no reason why the Long Stratton bypass, as an integral part of the local plan, cannot proceed.”

He added: “The Long Stratton bypass is the only road scheme in the whole of the eastern region for which the land is assembled and planning permission is in force. The government is crying out for roads schemes that are ready to go to kick-start the economy.”

The Mercury understands a local landowner has already agreed in principle to support the scheme.

Mr Fuller added: “It was 20 years ago that there was a chance for local people to have the bypass in return for new houses. They said no and got the houses anyway. This is not something we want to see happen again.”

The residents of Long Stratton have long been calling for a bypass to ease congestion. The idea of a bypass was first mooted in 1937 but at the time it was feared the road would clash with a housing project. Since then campaigners have fought hard for the road but more than 70 years on it has still not been built.

The £26m scheme has been granted planning consent but is currently on hold because of funding issues.

The project suffered a setback in June 2006 when it was not included in the East of England Regional Assembly priority programme for the next 10 years.

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