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Norwich is sometimes portrayed in the UK media as a place which is remote, unsophisticated, gauche, and out-of-step with national trends (see Alan Partridge). This is perhaps primarily due to its geographical isolation, and an identification of Norwich as the epitome of Norfolk, a largely rural county. However, Norwich was the second city of England (after London) for several centuries before industrialisation, which came late to Norwich due to its isolation.
Despite this perception, Norwich has a long history of political radicalism and is by no means a conservative city. With 10 seats, Norwich City Council has a significant proportion of Green Party councillors. The largest number of seats, however, is held by the Labour Party with 15; the Liberal Democrats are in second place with 11. The Conservative Party is currently in fourth place with 3 councillors.
In November 2006 the city was voted the greenest in the UK.
According to the 2001 census, 27.8% of respondents in Norwich stated that they were of "no religion", the highest percentage in England.
There has always been a general tolerance of "incomers" by the "native" population of Norwich and Norfolk, though becoming a "local" is still reckoned to take decades. There are good rail links from Norwich railway station to Peterborough and London, and direct services to Cambridge were added in 2004.
A large proportion of the population of Norwich are users of the Internet. A recent article has suggested that, compared with other UK cities, it is top of the league for the percentage of population who use the popular Internet auction site eBay. The city has also unveiled the biggest free Wi-Fi network in the UK, which opened in July 2006. Open Link will be undergoing essential work during august
In August 2007 Norwich was shortlisted as one of nine finalists its population group for the International Awards for Liveable Communities LivCom Awards
Norwich sits astride the A47 (bypassed to the south of the city) which connects it with Great Yarmouth to the east and with Kings Lynn to the west, which ultimately connects to Peterborough. At present the A47 is in the planning stages of upgrades, largely to sections which are still single-carriageway and with much focus on improving the road network in conjunction with the in-construction Great Yarmouth Harbour. Norwich is linked to Cambridge via the A11, which leads to the M11 motorway for London and the M25. It is linked to Ipswich (to the south) by the A140 and to Lowestoft (to the south-east) by the A146. Norwich is currently the largest population centre in the UK not to be connected to any other centre by an unbroken dual carriageway.
Norwich is served by many bus operators. The main bus operator is First Eastern Counties with their Overground network served by low floor buses and other routes served with a mixture of low floor and standard floor vehicles. Destinations throughout Norfolk are served and some beyond including Peterborough, Lowestoft and Thetford. National Express also run ten coaches a day to Stansted Airport, five a day to London, and one a day to Birmingham. Most bus and coach services, run from Norwich bus station in Surrey Street.
Although Norwich is a comparitively small city by international standards, there is still plenty to do. The main attraction in Norwich are the Broads - a network of rivers and tributaries famed for it's scenic beauty. Visitors can either take a stroll along the network of footpaths along the Broads or rent a small cruiser or narrowboat.
Norwich also hosts some of britain's best parks and gardens. Many of these parks where built in the early 20th century, as a form of unemployment relief. The most notable parks of norwich are: Eaton Park, - It's one of the City's finest green spaces, lying west of the city. Catton Park, - A nationally important green space located to the north of the city. Waterloo Park, - An 18 acre park with a wide range of facilities located north of the city centre.
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