Thursday, 9 July 2015

Regeneration Park Norwich or the Northern Distributor Road - two local issues

When teaching about urban redevelopment or regeneration, or other issues where there is change over time involved, it's handy to have a local issue that you can focus on. When I started teaching, we were waiting for about 10 years for a flyover to be built across the notorious Hardwick roundabout in King's Lynn, then there was controversy over the felling of trees in a park called The Walks. More recently, there has been a great deal of debate over plans for a waste incinerator close to the site of what used to be a sugar beet factory until the 1990s... and close to a huge new site operated by Palm Paper.
Wherever you are, there is likely to be a local issue making the news. It could be related to transport, or perhaps energy generation. Sometimes the issue is an environmental one, or perhaps linked to employment - or both.
There are two new schemes in Norwich which promise to offer local geography teachers plenty to talk about and follow for some years to come.

Generation Park Norwich is a proposed redevelopment of an old site that was previously used for utilities, but has stood derelict for a long time. It is planned to benefit the local community.


An exhibition of the plans was held in early June in Norwich. I was unable to make it, but there is a website which contains the details here.

Plans are being drawn up to regenerate the long-derelict 30-acre Utilities Site close to the city centre, transforming it for the benefit of the people of Norwich and Norfolk. The site has a proposed name of Generation Park Norwich.
The plans centre on a pioneering project which would place Norwich and the East of England at the forefront of addressing the twin challenges of community energy generation and climate change. A proposed green Community Energy Centre, fuelled by renewable straw pellets, would produce sustainable power for major business users in the city and supply the National Grid. It would also offer our community the prospect of more affordable heating bills through a new District Heating Scheme.
The proposals would create an attractive park in a riverside setting and complete an important missing link in the city's walkways and cycle paths.
The development would also feature an Education Centre, Energy Research and Development Centre, low carbon homes and student accommodation.
Subject to planning permission, taken together the proposals would redevelop the derelict Utilities Site and provide a heartbeat for sustainable living in Norwich, reducing the city's carbon footprint by up to a quarter.
Another issue that will also be relevant for some years to come is the plan to build a Northern Distributor road around the north of the city, which will cost well over £100 million for a road less than 9 miles long.



This has been called the 'road to nowhere' by campaigners who argue that it doesn't complete a 'ring' around the city.

The Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NDR) will;
  • Provide a dual carriageway link from the national road network to Norwich International Airport and beyond, serving a large area of Broadland and North Norfolk, including existing and planned business and housing areas
  • Offer a quicker and more convenient route for a range of shorter journeys by linking existing roads into Norwich, cutting journey times and bringing relief to local communities and the city centre
  • Carry around 40,000 vehicles a day between the Airport and the A47 at Postwick – traffic drawn from other less suitable roads
It will also connect with the proposed eco-town of Rackheath (which is a whole separate issue by itself)

There is already a campaign against the road called the SNUB campaign.

There is plenty in the local newspaper: the EDP, and I've started to collect clippings about the project.

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