Petition supporting Western Link gains hundreds of signatures
- Credit: Danielle Booden
A petition supporting the controversial Western Link road has gained more than 600 signatures in just two days.
It has been launched by Gary Blundell, a town councillor in Costessey, near the proposed route, who says it reflects the views of many people who live in the area.
He said much of the opposition to the road had come from “people who do not live in the areas affected by the lack of building it”.
The £198m road - which would connect the A47 with the Norwich Distributor Road - has been hotly debated in recent weeks.
Prominent figures like Stephen Fry and Chris Packham have stated their opposition, and Norwich City Council has said it will not back the plan.
But Mr Blundell's petition has quickly attracted hundreds of signatures.
Mr Blundell wrote on the change.org website that the Norwich Distributor Road being only three quarters complete “has increased traffic in many areas outside Norwich city centre”, which has caused “increasing rat running, congestion and pollution”.
He added: “Finishing the last quarter is a sensible idea alongside environmental improvements and safeguarding.”
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“The small roads were not designed for the sheer amount of traffic and heavy vehicles now using them to get from one side or Norwich to the other,” he added.
Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways, Martin Wilby, said: “This petition and the comments being left on it reflect the daily experiences of people who live in or travel through the area to the west of Norwich, and what we have been told by local residents for years.
“Traffic congestion, long delays, air pollution – this is what people are dealing with and, with significant housing and job growth planned in Greater Norwich, it will get worse without the Norwich Western Link.
“I want those people to know we hear them and are committed to solving these issues and bringing about many benefits for Norfolk by delivering this vital link road.”
Opponents of the project are largely concerned about its environmental impact and financial cost.
Earlier this week, the broadcaster Chris Packham said the road would cause irreparable damage - and that it posed an unjustifiable threat to a 'super colony' of rare Barbastelle bats living in a woodland between Weston Longville and Ringland.
Norfolk-born broadcaster and comedian Stephen Fry was also among 23 people to sign an open letter against the road.
Extinction Rebellion Norwich, Friends of the Earth Norwich and other organisations are holding a 'Witness the Wensum' protest event on Saturday, January 29 - which they hope more than 100 people will attend.