Norwich drivers face months of disruption when city centre work starts

St Stephens Street in Norwich.
Photo by Simon Finlay. St Stephens Street in Norwich. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Friday, June 13, 2014
12:10 PM

Drivers in Norwich are set for a summer of disruption, with work on a major city centre traffic shake-up set to start in less than a month.

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Through the £1.7m Transport for Norwich scheme, cars will be banned from St Stephens Street and part of Surrey Street, while controversial changes to Chapel Field North will see that road made two-way.

Following that, general traffic would be banned from going into Rampant Horse Street and stopped from going from Westlegate into Rampant Horse Street.

A bus lane is also being put in Grapes Hill as part of the project, which council bosses say will cut congestion and improve bus reliability.

It has been confirmed that work on Chapel Field North is due to start on Monday, July 7, which will continue for at least three months and possibly longer.

The work, from the Cleveland Road junction to Chapel Field East, will see the pathway by the side of Chapelfield Gardens removed to widen the road so traffic can travel both ways. Traffic will have to be diverted.

Vehicles from Westlegate which currently travel up past the park will have to loop around Red Lion Street, Golden Ball Street, All Saints Green, Queens Road and Chapel Field Road to get to the Grapes Hill roundabout.

Vehicles from Little Bethel Street, which currently turn right into Chapel Field North will instead have to use Theatre Street and Rampant Horse Street to get onto the same diversion route.

And traffic from Red Lion Street, which currently turn right into Theatre Street will have to head up St Stephens Street instead.

Fred Agombar, who runs the Olde Norwich sightseeing tours, predicted that would lead to “absolute chaos”. He presented a petition to the Norwich highways agency committee yesterday.

He criticised the council for doing the work “at the busiest time of the year in the tourist industry”.

But Bruce Bentley, principal transportation planner at Norwich City Council said the summer months were when traffic levels were at their lowest.

He said: “The scheme has been extensively tested and will provide significant benefits, particularly for public transport users, walkers and cyclists who are trying to access the city centre.”

The committee also agreed that, once the changes are introduced, cameras can be installed to catch drivers who flout the bans on where traffic can go.

Initially, drivers would get advisory warnings, but after a period of grace while drivers get used to the changes, they could face fines of up to £90.

• What do you think of the changes? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

26 comments

  • There is no situation bad enough that councils cannot make worse,best avoid Norwich like the plague,and continue the decline of the city centre. My sympathies lie with the businesses who will suffer through this,who already pay crippling business rates to a council hell bent on losing them customers.

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    Harry Rabinowitz

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

  • Predictable moans from car worshippers. Cycling and walking benefit everyone: they create more road space for cars. If the 33% of people in Norwich without cars started driving, the situation would be far worse.

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    DrJB

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

  • Predictable moans from car worshippers. Cycling and walking benefit everyone: they create more road space for cars. If the 333% of people in Norwich without cars started driving, the situation would be far worse.

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    DrJB

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

  • I love the smell of air pollution first thing in the morning.Smells like victory.

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    Peter Watson

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

  • @union jack. Regarding the malls. Their cars parks can be reached by multiple roads outside of the city centre. Once parked you then you walk from those car parks into the city like 99% of the people currently do and will continue todo after this work has been complete. Failing to see why this is so difficult.

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    monkeynuts

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

  • Perhaps if everyone who does not travel by bus or bike avoided shopping in Norwich for a week the council would get the message. Having given planning permission for 2 malls with car parks, why are motorists given the short straw when it comes to travelling in the city. How about someone in the council joining the debate to give us some insight to the genius behind these changes! Please stop wasting MY money.

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    Union Jack

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

  • Why do we have to have this upheaval, there are empty shops around the city.

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    oldboy

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

  • @union jack most of the money is being supplied by a Tory government. And I doubt it would have been supplied if they didn't agree with its usage. As for loss of business, not at all. All the usual car parks are still available, and pedestrianisation of town and city centres result in much more foot traffic. There's lots of stats on this effect from all over the world, from Liverpool to New York. And Norwich need be no different. As for "persecution". Last time a checked we are all pedestrians, these changes benefit everyone.

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    monkeynuts

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

  • Persecution of the motorist, businesses shops and jobs, by a council with too many greens. No change, no surprise.

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    Union Jack

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

  • Little Bethel Street closure is a very good idea. It is a highly dangerous street to use, even on foot. Chapelfield Gardens does need more lights. I would never ever use it at night. It would also be nice to see more public toilets in the city. This should be included in the plan.

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    fjq11

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

  • I guess this is what happens when the Greens have influence....." Let's spend money we do not have on restricting the number of people who spend their money in the city. If they all get fed up and stay away the city will be a lovely place, albeit with no jobs, no shops no businesses ". I've always tried to support local shops and businesses , but with a council hell bent on destroying Norwich, I guess we shall all have to use Amazon. The Greens probably see this as an ideal result. Strange how with all this comment, no one from the council has put their head above the parapet to defend or criticise this stupidity.

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    Union Jack

    Friday, June 13, 2014

  • I hope the powers that be do their job properly and make sure the street lights are maintained in Chapelfield Gardens. It's a frightening place when it's dark and half the lights aren't working.

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    Anglianjacky

    Friday, June 13, 2014

  • This is what you get with too many Greens on the council, Everyone they think should use a bus or ride a bike.

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    Tone the moan

    Friday, June 13, 2014

  • The council always say that banning cars improves 'quality of life'. The reality is that unless ALL vehicles (including bicycles) are banned then the is actually no real improvement. All what happens is that the buses, taxis etc just drive more aggressively and dangerously.

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    Parsnip

    Friday, June 13, 2014

  • This is a good plan and not a nail in the coffin for city businesses - quite the opposite, it will increase footfall as all of those businesses well know. Very few of the cars going through the city either sop or need to be there. Car drivers who decide to shop out of city wonlt be mussed and have you ever been to Longwater at a busy time? Good luck with that!

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    Only Me

    Friday, June 13, 2014

  • @Derek McDonald why is it a nail in the coffin? All the usual car parking places are still available via the same routes 99% of people take.

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    monkeynuts

    Friday, June 13, 2014

  • Another nail in the coffins for City businesses, might as well uses places like the Riverside or Anglia Square or even Longwater lane, Costessey, save all the hassle. Well done Norwich City Council, just keep looking after cyclists and bus companies

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    Derek McDonald

    Friday, June 13, 2014

  • And just how much are the bus companies going to pay towards these works which will mainly benefit their profits?

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    marty r

    Friday, June 13, 2014

  • I drive and park in the City centre because the busses are expensive and don't run to my convenience. If I miss a bus there is a gap of a couple of hours to the next one. If they were more frequent and cheaper I may consider it. On the days when I'm in London I would miss the last bus back, so again I need my car.

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    Andy T

    Friday, June 13, 2014

  • While I advocate very strongly the work that's happening I do not do so without serious reservation. As pointed out, if you want to encourage people to use the bus something very seriously has to be done about the cost of using the bus. While it costs £12ish to bring my family in by bus I will always opt to use my car as its less than half the cost. Also, cant help thinking the work should wait until after the summer. Im assuming there was a good reason for starting it now, but off the top of my head I cant think what it might be.

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    monkeynuts

    Friday, June 13, 2014

  • @Albert Cooper Id ask a slightly different question which would be why do motorists need to travel though the city at all. There no parking in the city center, and all the major car parks are still reachable via the usual routes.

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    monkeynuts

    Friday, June 13, 2014

  • Albert - as myself and others have said time and time again, make the bus prices comparable with driving a car into the city (including parking). Then it becomes much more attractive as an option. While it costs double or triple the cost of using a car, people won't swap from a purely financial point of view. Bring down prices = more people use the bus = the buses still make money (more fares taken offsets the reduced price) = less cars in the city = buses run to time = everyone wins. Instead of using the carrot, the council is using the stick. People don't respond well to bullying tactics.

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    So_Many_Haters!

    Friday, June 13, 2014

  • Its gridlock on a daily basis in central Norwich,and all sympathy to drivers who pay heavily for the use of their cars,something has to be done ! whether the current plans are rehired is another matter,but I would ask motorists who seem to want to drive directly to their City Centre Destination,What would you do to solve the unsustainable situation we have at present

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    Albert Cooper

    Friday, June 13, 2014

  • Unless they bring down the cost, it is cheaper for me to go by car. If I was to use buses I would need weekly passes for myself and my twin 5yr olds which would cost £45 I only spend £20 per week including tax and insurance. It would also triple my travel time as I work the other side of the city so I would have to change buses twice, with about a 5-10min wait between each one.

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    doublebubble009

    Friday, June 13, 2014

  • All this so the council can worship the two headed god - the bus and the cycle!

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    biglingers

    Friday, June 13, 2014

  • "What do you think of the changes?" Well, given that this story seems to have run every fortnight for ages, I think people have made their thoughts pretty clear: during the works it'll be a nightmare for everyone trying to get by road to the city (public or private transport), afterwards the cameras are a cynical means of raising revenue, that it'll hit the disabled the worst, and that a lot of people feel the city council has a vendetta against private vehicle ownership.

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    So_Many_Haters!

    Friday, June 13, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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