Plan for preparations for Norwich bypass criticised

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Norfolk County Council chiefs have been criticised for spending more than £2m on preliminary work for a new bypass at the same time as cutting 1,000 jobs.

Adrian Ramsay, leader of the Green Party on Norwich City Council, has asked his authority to step in and urge the county council to save the money.

Ministers have backed plans for the road around Norwich but have not yet agreed to release funding.

Norfolk County Council said the road would bring significant benefits.

Because of the big cuts in public spending the Department for Transport has asked for further investigatory work to be carried out ahead of a final decision about whether to fund the bypass in the autumn.

Mr Ramsay said: "The council wants to spend £750,000 on modelling work in 2011/12, £750,000 in 2012/13 and £600,000 on a hub next year."

He added that the county council was making cuts to road safety measures in Norwich and cutting other transport capital expenditure.

Mr Ramsay has now asked the Labour-led city council to write to the county council, urging it to refrain from spending large sums of money on preparing for a road scheme which might never be completed.

Graham Plant, the county council's cabinet member for travel and transport, said: "There's been no "reactivation" of the northern distributor road project.

"We are continuing to progress the scheme but at a significantly reduced rate since August 2010, following the spending review announcements."

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