Norfolk County Council has published details of its proposals in a substantial funding bid to central government which, if successful, has the potential to transform travel in Greater Norwich.
The Transport for Norwich partnership is seeking an overall investment in the region of £100m through the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Transforming Cities Fund (TCF), which aims to make it easier for people to access jobs, training and retail, and responds to issues around carbon reduction and improving local air quality, with a strong focus on increasing use of public transport, walking and cycling.
If successful, the plans hope to generate an extra 4,000 bus trips per day and improve access to employment and learning for thousands of residents in the most deprived parts of the city, with bus passengers seeing reduced journey times, with more frequent services and connecting options.
By moving to more sustainable transport options the council hope to tackle congestion, reduce single car occupancy and achieve a 16,000 tonne reduction in Co2 across the city, with particular focus on current pollution hot spots. This will support the ambitious 2030 carbon neutral target set in the council’s latest environment policy.
The transforming cities proposals, developed in partnership, have been widely supported by key stakeholders across the city, with some bus operators pledging to make significant fleet upgrades should funding be awarded, with the potential to introduce electric buses through other government funding sources.
Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Clean growth is the ‘golden thread’ in our Local Industrial Strategy and we fully support this bid to increase sustainable transport in and around Norwich and Greater Norwich.
“This bid pinpoints key commuter corridors and shows how by delivering more sustainable transport routes we can improve access to jobs and training, boost social inclusion and improve air quality in the city. Access to the Transforming Cities Fund would deliver benefits which would be enjoyed by everyone in Norwich and beyond.”
Cllr Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways and infrastructure and chair of the transforming cities joint committee said: “This funding bid has the potential to deliver investment in sustainable transport infrastructure on an unprecedented scale, transforming how people travel around Norwich, boost the local economy and deliver real benefit in terms of health, employment and the environment for years to come.
“The level of support shown for our proposals is testament to the partnership approach that has got us to this point and the commitment to invest shown by bus operators is a clear indication of confidence in our joint approach to delivery”.
A decision from the DfT is expected by the end of March 2020 and all funded schemes within the proposals will then be subject to further local consultation and detailed design.
The first project likely to get underway will involve a major remodelling of all city centre bus stops.
You can view full details of the current proposals including all letters of support on the council’s website at www.norfolk.gov.uk/transformingcities