Local transport budgets for Norfolk county councillors pondered

Officials want a green light to councillors holding their own budgets for small local transport projects
Officials want a green light to councillors holding their own budgets for small local transport projects
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Councillors could be given their own individual budgets for local transport projects under proposals to be considered today.

Norfolk County Council officials say the move would help communities to pursue their own local priorities.

And the scheme could be merged with an existing local transport funding scheme if it is deemed to be successful.

The plan, to be examined by the council’s environment, development and transport committee this morning, would see each individual councillor given a £6,000 budget for small highway projects in their wards during the 2017-18 financial year.

The total cost, just over £500,000, would be drawn from a £1 million funding allocation previously set aside for bids to a Department for Transport programme.

A report published ahead of the meeting said: “Greater emphasis is being placed on localism and more local ways of working in our strategic approach.

“We recognise that the local priorities in one part of the county can be very different from another. This will allow more flexibility in meeting locally identified needs.”

The paper suggested the cash could be used to fund feasibility studies for larger projects, some new road signs or markings, minor changes to regulations or maintenance.

However, officials suggested projects involving street lighting, illuminated signs and reflective bollards should not be included.

The report will go to the same meeting where members will consider the proposed allocation of funds to dozens of road safety projects across the county under the annual parish partnership programme.

More than 30 projects across West Norfolk have been recommended to receive funding worth more than £300,000 through the scheme.

And officials have suggested that local member budgets, if successful, should merge with the partnership from 2018-19, to create a single £6,000 annual transport budget for each division.

They say the local budgets could help to bring in funding from other sources.

However, the county’s total funding allocation would be significantly lower than the £735,000 officers have recommended allocating through the current partnership.