Truth is out on Transforming Cities Bid Failure
The Leader of Norfolk County Council said in June 2019 that the Transforming Cities Bid could get in excess of £100 million in government funding to make improvements in Norfolk’s public transport system around Greater Norwich.
Now the truth is out. The Department of Transport’s letter is damning, saying “we felt that your business case was not suitably developed and therefore did not make a strong enough case for investment at this stage. Some of the concerns we had were around the appraisal outputs and methodology which would benefit from further discussion.”
Brian Watkins, Liberal Democrat Group spokesperson said, “The bid that was submitted was not as coherent as it could have been, and in some respects merely became a ‘wish list of good ideas’. That problem remains: clear priority must be given to those schemes that are essential at getting people to switch behaviour to more environmentally friendly, healthy options.
“The DfT’s response confirms that there is a clear lack of innovation at the Council. Now even a possible £32 million of funding is at risk and the County Council will have its hands held by Central Government to ensure that there are schemes which are sufficiently forward thinking.
“The Conservative leadership doesn’t really understand public transport. The Leader of the Council referred to Norfolk as a car county yet 19% of the public don’t own a car. How are they meant to get around?
“Yet again this failure will rebound particularly heavily on our rural communities. A fully improved public transport system could help to better link up rural communities with Norwich. There need to be connections to rural Norfolk so that everyone can travel across Norfolk, apart from by car, in a way that just isn’t possible now.
“A Conservative Councillor said at a recent meeting that officers should ‘forget about rural bus services’. That is the last thing Norfolk needs. Is it no wonder that the Department of transport has found the funding bid inadequate?”