What do you think? Is it time to ban vehicles from Castle Meadow and make more of Norwich Castle?

Norwich Castle in bright January sunshine. Picture: Denise Bradley Norwich Castle in bright January sunshine. Picture: Denise Bradley

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
10:45 AM

OPINION: Ever walked around Norwich or Norfolk and considered what you would do to change things for the better, were you in charge?

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First Buses prepare to go on strike. Pictured on Castle Meadow; Photo:Antony Kelly; Copy:; For: EDP news; EDP pics © 2005; (01603) 772434First Buses prepare to go on strike. Pictured on Castle Meadow; Photo:Antony Kelly; Copy:; For: EDP news; EDP pics © 2005; (01603) 772434

It’s certainly something I’ve done and today’s exciting news about developments at Norwich castle has prompted me to share one of these particular views with the world – or you the reader at least.

As work begins to set up a series of new displays looking back on the county’s rich Norman heritage, bosses have also spoken of their wider intentions for the castle, which are to take it to a new, national, level.

“This building is the real heart of Norwich,” said chief curator John Davies. “We passionately believe in the importance of the castle in helping local pride and bringing tourism to the region.”

I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment, Norwich castle should be the icon of not just the city but Norfolk as a whole. Not only is it rich in stories of old, it stands tall as a beacon of the city centre.

Yet, in spite of this, metaphorically speaking it feels as if the rest of the city centre has turned its back on the castle and does not care for it.

Walk through places such as Dover, Durham, York and Chester, and you are left in no doubt as to the existence of their own historical icons. They are well-signposted and heavily advertised – shouted about in other words. Could the same be said of Norwich? But what grates with me even more is life around the castle, in particular Castle Meadow, a cut-through for buses and taxis and one of the most heavily-polluted roads in the city because of it.

Wouldn’t it be better to get rid of the vehicles, pedestrianise the road and attempt to breathe new life into the area, with the castle at the heart of all that?

Imagine a day when on the one side of Castle Meadow you have a line of decent restaurants (what a meal with a view that would be) and perhaps the other side a museum, continental market or one or two stalls dotted around leading up to the Castle Meadow itself.

That road could then be at the heart of cultural city centre events, such as re-enactments, celebrations and parades.

Clearly what I don’t have the answer for is where the displaced buses and taxis would go, but I’m sure it’s a challenge worth attempting.

Do you agree or disagree? Email me at david.powles@archant.co.uk or tweet me @david_powles

25 comments

  • Where would the busses go? Stupid Idea. I'd much rather we have pedestrianisation of Westlegate, instead of letting County Councillors block it like they did. A pox on them!

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    Mooseyt3

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • Norwich also has a very nice River, but as with the rest of the nice things in Norwich, nothing is done to enhance them or make them more appealing to tourism.

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    R33VO

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • I use buses to get around precisely because they are so expensive. As I lurch gracefully by on my double decker and feel all the envious eyes from the commoners in their cars, they know full well I earn more than them, have a larger house and am an all round just great guy. They can't possibly compete, the losers. AND I shop in Waitrose don't you know!

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    frank young

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • At the front of every tailback on St Stephens you'll find a bus at the front. They don't get into the bus stop properly and have their tail sticking out which means that other busses can't get through. Bus drivers feel they can stop where they like and everyone else be damned! They stop on roundabouts to give way to their friends even though their own route is clear. They bully through the pedestrian crossings by M&S literally scattering pedestrians because they won't slow down. They are a menace to other road users and a danger to pedestrians!

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    Andy T

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • Any buses coming into the city from the North end up coming in through Rose Lane. To move them on from Castle Meadow to the bus station means sending them along All Saints Green. That road get choked as it is - with Westlegate closed as well ASG would come to a standstill. How then to get buses to the station to keep to a timetable? It would mean a lot of traffic shifting to ensure that buses get where they need to in time, but that will also cause untold confusion and issues for car and delivery drivers. The traffic problems would just be moved to a different part of the city centre, not relieved. I would support the removal of private vehicles from within the A147 boundary (Queens Road, Chapelfield, Barn Road, St Crispins, Barrack Street, Riverside) but ONLY if a comprehensive review of traffic flow was undertaken to ensure that people are able to get around the city centre and able to park within a reasonable distance. Currently Norwich city council appears to be only interested in getting cars out, without any care where they end up. Moving the problem is not a solution - it just makes more problems.

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    So_Many_Haters!

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • Mooseyt3 - are you reading different comments to everyone else? Nobody has mentioned 99p stores, apart from yourself. I'm happy to pay for parking and not right in the city centre, but not three miles away either. It's far cheaper to drive my family to St Andrews car park and park there all day (£8.36 inc fuel) than to get the bus (£16.10). It's also far cheap to drive away from the city to a park and ride (£6.66) than it is for the family to catch a bus from the stop 20 yards from my house! If the city council won't bring the bus prices down to a competative level, they should at least make it convenient for people to get to the city by other means, and to make it safe to walk around. Just closing Castle Meadow to buses would have a huge knock-on effect and should not be considered without looking at the whole picture (and not one bought for 99p in Mooseyt3's favourite shop).

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    So_Many_Haters!

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • Buses struggle to get around the city as it is without another artery to the city being blocked off. In an ideal world it would be a nice idea, but in practice...

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    Jono

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • Buses should be banned from the whole of the city centre. The rate payers funded a new bus station and this is the only place where buses should stop and depart from. Almost every time I visit the city, St Stephens is blocked by a stream of virtually empty buses, that quite simply do not need to be driving down this road, with a purpose built bus station only a few hundred yards away. The same applies to Castle Meadow, either ban the buses and pedestrianise it, or open it up to cars to ease the congestion.

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    Norfolk John

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • …..Daisy! Daisy! I have an answer too!...Expect you can recall when they were all painted grey, and did not have to go on the one way loop system that makes the cars double their mileage! S-M-H says that buses from the North of the city have to come up Rose Lane. Not quite true! I think you will find that buses from Sprowston, Catton, Mile Cross have to go on a circular tour around Magpie Road and Esdelle Street and through Stump Cross, Magdalen Street on to Tombland then take a short cut on to Castle Meadow at Anglia TV. Buses from the East :- Heartsease, Thorpe St Andrew the County and the Station, have to use Rose Lane. I occasionally use this route into and out of the City during the mid –mornings and NEVER have a congestion problem, in fact motoring up Rose Lane at times is like do so in a Ghost Town! Very little traffic and hardly a pedestrian in sight! That doesn't answer the question about Castle Meadow and St Stephens, and include Theatre Street in that if you like. Buses are o-k until they STOP. That's what causes the traffic hold ups. The Bus Companies using these areas should be forced to carry a conductor on board to take payments by swipe cards. Buses should not be allowed to change crews or park unattended at any time. Keep them Moving! Moving! Moving! As they used to sing in Rawhide!

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • Well let's just ban all cars and buses from Norfolk and be done with it. After all who needs business and commerce when we can all go back to being smock wearing forelock tugging yokels for tourists to stare at. Well that's if the tourists could actually get to Norfolk. I really wonder if some people actually know how a local economy works and how fragile it is.

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    Resident Smith

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • I use buses to get around precisely because they are so expensive. As I lurch gracefully by on my double decker and feel all the envious eyes from the commoners in their cars, they know full well I earn more than them, have a larger house and am an all round just great guy. They can't possibly compete, the losers. AND I shop in Waitrose don't you know!

    Report this comment

    frank young

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • Well said Jenny, - I always thought bus stations were for buses - still this 'is' Norwich!

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    biglingers

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • It is true that most congestion is caused by buses, you only have to look at St Stephen to see that, but because public transport is the chosen mode of transport by the local council, it will remain that way. Buses are dirty, noisy smelly things, which cause more road damage than cars because of the weight. The other main cause of traffic congestion in Norwich is the way the local council has made it so difficult to travel in Norwich. Traffic signals are timed to create traffic hold ups, never have I seen a City and it commuters so poorly treated by the very authority who are meant to serv. I put forward a new cleaner public transport system for Norwich some years ago, I still think it is a good idea but I get no support for it. The local MP didn't respond, local council said they liked it but didn't offer help to develop it further. I have a bit of time on my hands at the moment so David Powles, if you are interested in seeing how we can get rid of a lot of buses and improve our City contact me.

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    parkeg1

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • I'm always impressed that all a stationery bus had to do to join traffic is put it's indicator on and instantly pull back out into the road no matter how many cars or cyclists are passing it at the time. I wish I could do that.

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    Resident Smith

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • More space for cars and less for buses.... the usual comments to a misplanned City scape. The bus station should have been placed next the station, not in isolation on the same spot were it always was, further, a tram should traverse the city from the North east to the southwest, linking up and using the local rail network already in existence. This past week thread speaks of more, http:www.edp24.co.uknewswhat_would_you_like_to_see_in_norwich_city_centre_to_help_it_thrive_1_3031841

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • The bus co has been using Castle Meadow as an informal bus station for far too long. They even removed the central flower beds to curry favour with the buses. Get all vehicles out and reduce the pollution in the city centre. As for gridlock? Cars cause gridlock and they don't use Castle Meadow now anyway. Buses can use the bus station. Only problem is they don't want to pay to do so and why should they when Castle Meadow is free. Bus co used to own it's own bus station. They flogged it off for a quick buck so they must take the consequences.

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    marty r

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • I'm suprised no-one here has mentioned the blidingly obvious and convert the castle and castle meadow into a hoooge multi-storey car park (free to park obviously) so all you car lubbers can shuffle around with your pulse rates barely getting above resting to the Mall, market and Intut Chavfield (or is that too far to walk?). How about a cable car system suspended from the battlements, to city hall, chavfield and back again (free to use obviously). Would that do yer? And what about the cyclists who use Castle Meadow as convenient cut through hmmm, they don't pay road tax you know..

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    frank young

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • This is just a trip into fantasy land! Where would the displaced traffic go? This is a recipe for total gridlock which will be made even worse when the massive expansion of houses around Norwich gets under way. With regard to the restaurant idea - just what are existing businesses expected to do and at what cost? To get the view stated would you pull down and rebuild existing properties and why a 'continental' market whatever that is? Has the writer never heard of Norwich Market? Was this article scheduled for 1st April?

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    andy

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • The alternative is, of course, to demolish the castle, it has long outgrown its usefulness, flatten the ugly weed strewn hump and build a brand new bus park, with poor access, a leaking roof not fit for purpose except for nesting pigeons, inefficient toilets and stands so tight that buses find difficulty parking up to them. This area could also incorporate a skate and pogo stick park for those who wish to skate and pogo stick into the city

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    mike smith

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • Why bother going to the City centre at all? Use Amazon instead. Yes they may be tax dog...er avoiders but they saved me having to mingle with the great unwashed, buying Xmas stuff no one needs. Worth every penny not going to the Treasury.

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    Resident Smith

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • If Castle Meadow was to be pedestrianised - what would it become? Nothing really. The shops are all down one side so it wouldn't become a shopping zone. Restaurant zone - don't be silly. Maybe they could rip up the tarmac and make a park - that would really bring the money and jobs in. As to all the hating of buses - all the haters are selfish and silly car drivers. I drive on occasion into the city and whilst the driving manners of some bus drivers leave a lot to be desired I'm bloody glad all of the 5, 10, 20, 50 people sitting on that bus in front of me are not sitting in 5, 10 or 50 cars.

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    Cyril the Canary

    Thursday, December 5, 2013

  • Open up the bus lanes off peak and when there are no buses. On some roads it will double the useable space and free up treaffic flow.

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    Andy T

    Thursday, December 5, 2013

  • I am old enough to remember the cattle market, going to the museum and having sweets from one of the shops on the bailey, and having new shoes from Ponds.And some of the old buildings sacrificed for the Mall before they were run down. Obviously someone has wind of the new regime at the museum, but since the museum has been trivialised by Trevelyan and the surrounds have already been wrecked by the Mall, removing buses from castle Meadow for the sake of a few more food outlets ( the city has more than enough already) seems pointless. However I do agree that the city does not make enough of the Castle-but then Norwich council has a long history of not making enough of any of the nice bits of Norwich and it is a miracle that any old buildings are left at all. What I am struggling to remember is where the buses went before they all ploughed along Castle Meadow-it certainly did not seem to be as congested years ago .

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    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • Why on earth should all buses be made to go to the Bus Station? That's a stupid idea. Even if it had been designed better it would not cope with all that traffic. Keep county buses going from the Bus Station and City buses at St Stephens and Castle Meadow providing a metro service like they do now. Pedestrianise Westlegate and ban all cars from within the inner ring road, who cares about the moaners? From their comments on here all they want to do is be able to park in Castle Mall for free whilst they fill their cars with booty from 99p stores. They aren't contributing to the economy, lets get rid of them.

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    Mooseyt3

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • Mooseyt3 – I think the answer is in the name i.e. BUS STATION! I also think you will find that it is mainly the people that travel on the buses that use the 99p stores and not those of us that arrive by car. It is time that the council stopped this crazy obsession with public transport and provide cheap (preferably free) easily accessible car parks to attract people with real money to spend into Norwich city centre.

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    Norfolk John

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

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

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