May 24 2013 Latest news:
By RIchard Wheeler
Friday, February 22, 2013
Concerns over how council officials dealt with the community when developing £1.45m city centre traffic proposals were dismissed last night.
More than 1,500 people signed a petition against Norwich City Council’s plans to make Chapel Field North two-way in an attempt to improve bus journey times, reliability and punctuality.
This is part of a wider proposal to close St Stephens Street and part of Surrey Street to general traffic, with the designs including the removal of a pavement on the south side of Chapel Field nearest to Chapelfield Park.
Residents of Chapel Field North and surrounding areas had suggested the consultation period was inadequate, they were not aware of the proposed changes to traffic and the evidence supporting the plans was inadequate.
But the city council’s scrutiny committee last night agreed it was “content” with the processes followed. Questions were raised, however, about whether the authority needed to consider changing its consultation process to ensure people felt more a part of it.
Jerry Massey, deputy chief executive of the council, told the meeting the first consultation on the broader aims for road changes in Norwich took place in 2003. This was followed by another which included St Stephens and Chapel Field changes in 2009, and attracted 11,000 responses and 73pc support. Further events took place throughout 2011 and 2012 specifically on the project.
Lucy Galvin, Green Party councillor, said: “Do we need to consider the process? Is it enough to have a wider strategy? What I have seen is this keeps happening with different bits – when it goes to action that’s when it blows up as that’s when people start to care.”
Bert Bremner, cabinet member for transport, said: “The consultation went on way beyond the time – it went right up to the Norwich Highways Agency Committee (NHAC) in January and has continued since as NHAC deferred it to March. There will have to be a decision made some time.”
The meeting heard talks between the council and campaigners are ongoing.
Terrorism returned to the streets of London today as two suspected Muslim fanatics butchered a man in broad daylight in the name of “Allah”.
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