Roadworks, procession float ban and fewer shops - What is happening to our fine city?

PUBLISHED: 11:45 12 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:52 12 March 2019

Cars queue in rush hour traffic. Photo: Gregg Brown

Cars queue in rush hour traffic. Photo: Gregg Brown

In August 2016, I wrote an In My View article about my love of Norwich; about the pride I carry in my heart for this beautiful city and the many famous people and the numerous firsts it is renowned for; from trialling the postcode system to being named Unesco City of Literature.

	Lord Mayor's Procession 2013 
Lord Mayor's Procession 2013

Sadly, since that time, whilst that love and pride still exists, I have begun to feel that, almost insidiously, our fine city is being spoiled.

I began to feel like this when the city centre roadworks began.

Now they have become a constant feature throughout Norwich and surrounding districts, seemingly popping up everywhere we go.

And then, just a few months later, they are dug up again because of something overlooked the first time around.

I must drive round with my eyes shut (note to DVLA and Police – I am only joking!) because I have yet to see the influx, nay multitude, of cyclists predicted when the said roads around the city and county were annihilated to create cycle lanes to accommodate them. (Another article in May 2017 asked ‘Where are all the Cyclists?’)

A question I am still asking because I have still not witnessed the hordes that were anticipated when they began ripping out (or digging out) the heart of the city. (Oh except for the ones hurtling through Gentleman’s Walk and London Street, which incidentally, was the first city centre street to be pedestrianised in the UK.)

And now, just when it seems safe to venture into the city again, we have to endure more disruption with the Cattle Market Street plan.

Sometimes it takes hours to get back home because of having to negotiate the roadblocks and temporary traffic lights that seem to be in place on almost every road in some areas.

More than that, after all this, (albeit in some very distant future, hopefully,) it is proposed to dig everywhere up again, so that we may have a tram system in place.

What is happening to our fine city? To whom do we turn to ask, beg or plead that this desecration stops? These continuous roadworks have contributed hugely to many shoppers preferring to take their custom (and their cars) to retail shopping centres on the outskirts. Where will it all end? How can we ever contemplate our beloved Norwich becoming a ghost city?

Another change due is to the Lord Mayor’s procession.

This annual event which brings delight to thousands now stands threatened because of the proposal to ban the lorries, which the floats are constructed on, from driving through the streets and polluting the atmosphere.

Whilst I fully understand that we should all contribute to improving environment pollution, climate change etc. does stopping the floats for a few hours really compensate that much towards it?

Thousands turn out to watch the procession, spending money in the pubs, restaurants and funfair afterwards. Has anyone considered the loss of revenue that this one night brings in, if the people don’t bother coming into the city centre for this diminished parade?

Sometimes, it beggars belief and yet, as I gaze upon the architecture and historical landmarks within our city, the buzz of the finest market in the UK, the malls and the shops that are still surviving, (on that point they are outnumbered it seems by eating establishments; do we really need more?) I know my intrinsic love for Norwich will never end and my heart will always belong here; even if my heart is a tad sad at seeing our city becoming somewhat a little less ‘fine’ than it was.

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