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Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has agreed to grant a development consent order for the 12.5-mile road, which will stretch from the A1067 Fakenham Road at Attlebridge in the west to Postwick in the east.

Business leaders have hailed the news as a potential £1.3bn shot in the arm for Norfolk’s economy, while council leaders said it would create new homes and jobs, as well as speeding up traffic. Edward Olley of Ifield Estates said ‘This is excellent news and will open up great opportunities for much needed employment and housing in North-East Norwich. It will also without doubt make Ifield Estates Broadland Gate scheme one of the most prominent and accessible in the County’.

The decision to grant development consent for the road came following a public inquiry in Norwich last year, where all sides got the chance to convince a panel of inspectors whether the road should go ahead or not.

The business community welcomed the decision, saying it handed the county an opportunity for the creation of new jobs and homes. Caroline Williams, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “This news is another positive step toward getting the improvements to Norfolk’s infrastructure which the business community has been calling for.

“Norfolk Chamber is delighted the government has given the go-ahead and look forward to work starting as the earliest possible opportunity. “The Northern Distributor Road is not just a piece of road, but the opportunity to unlock jobs and new homes for the city and surrounding area.” Norfolk County Council’s leader George Nobbs said it was a “huge stride forward” after years of under-investment in the county. He said: “There are other hurdles to clear, including finalising construction pricing and funding approval, but the Secretary of State’s announcement brings us significantly closer to starting work.