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Norwich plans further £15.4m cycling investment - subject to DfT approval

East Anglian city bids for £8.4m of Cycle City Ambition funding to boost its Push the Pedalways project

Norwich City Council and two neighbouring local authorities have applied for a further grant of £8.4 million in Cycle City Ambition cash from the Department for Transport (DfT) to help fund £15.4 million of improvements for cycling facilities in the city.

As one of the eight cities that benefited from the first wave of funding announced by the DfT in August 2013, Norwich was invited to submit a bid by 31 January for second wave funding, with a total of £114 million available.

The money, if awarded, would be used to improve 20 miles of cycle paths in the Greater Norwich area according to the bid from Norwich City Council, Broadland District Council and South Norfolk Council.

The cash would boost the existing Push the Pedalways project, which aims to double levels of cycling in the area between 2013 and 2023, and has already benefited from investment of £5.7 million split between local contributions and the initial Cycle City Ambition grant.

Two routes that much of the money being bid for would be spent on cross the city centre – one from Sprowston to Wymondham, the other from Norwich International Airport and Lakenham - denoted, respectively, by blue and yellow signage.

Improvements would include making junctions safer, installing new cycle paths, and putting 20mph zones in place.

The money would also be used to redesign roundabouts in the city, as well as banning motor vehicles from All Saints Green, with 45 separate projects listed in the bid application.

Last month, Norwich City Council’s request for more time to submit the bid to the DfT was turned down, and in the covering letter to the application it acknowledges that while its cabinet has approved it, the funds required to pay for the proposed works need to be incorporated into its capital programme and fund.

It says it will seek approval for that at the next full council meeting on 17 February, and says it is “mindful that all the political parties on the council support the principle of building more cycling infrastructure and delivery of the pedalway programme specifically.”

Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member for environment, development and transport, told the Eastern Daily Press: “This is really exciting. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the Department for Transport will approve the application, but I am hopeful as they did invite us to apply.

“The routes we have chosen are about linking housing to where the jobs are. We also want to improve people’s health by encouraging them to cycle.

“We are aiming to double cycling in the city over the next few years. We want these routes to be safe enough for a 12-year-old to cycle on their own and for their parents to be happy for them to do that.”

Jeff Jordan, a committee member of the Norwich Cycling Campaign, said: “This is very much something we welcome.

“The city council had a very short space of time to be very specific about what it would be used for, but they have been consulting us in the short time they’ve had.

“This is quite a sum of money,” he added.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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