Business owner calls for controversial Norwich bus lane to be ditched

Cars and vans using the Brazengate bus illegally between 7.30-9.30am. Photo: Bill Smith Cars and vans using the Brazengate bus illegally between 7.30-9.30am. Photo: Bill Smith

Saturday, March 22, 2014
11:13 AM

A business owner near one of Norwich’s most controversial bus lanes has said the time has come to ditch the system.

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Nigel Harvey, who has owned R T Harvey Butchers in Grove Road since 1985, told the Norwich highways agency committee that he sees “no logical reason” for the continuation of the Brazengate ‘bus gate’.

Police catch more than 170 drivers in Norwich bus lane
Police catch a further 190 drivers in Norwich bus lane
Video: Are Brazengate bus lane drivers finally learning their lesson?

A police crackdown earlier this year caught 191 drivers flouting the bus lane restrictions in one two-hour spell. But Mr Harvey insists keeping it in use - and enforcing it - is doing more harm than good.

He told a meeting at City Hall: “If enforced, it has and will continue to drive traffic down either the already congested St Stephens or more importantly along Hall Road all the way to the dangerous emergence of traffic at an uncontrolled junction on a blind bend at Bracondale.

“Having monitored the limited number of buses and passengers that use the Brazengate during the restrictive times, the practice just does not make sense; combined with the fact that a large volume of traffic is allowed from Sainsbury’s car park without restriction.”

A bus lane operates in the area from Monday to Friday between 7.30am and 9.30am with only buses and taxis allowed to enter the road and onto Brazengate, near Sainsbury’s.

The restrictions also apply to vehicles on Victoria Street, with no left turn onto Brazengate between those times.

The city council’s transportation and network manager Joanne Deverick said it was first introduced in the mid 1990s to encourage car drivers to use park and ride facilities into Norwich.

She warned: “Removing the bus gate would suck significant amounts of traffic through the residential area and would be a retrogade step in delivering the Norwich Area Transportation Strategy which looks to promote and encourage bus usage.”

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