Anger over decision to allow part of King's Lynn bus and cycle route for cars
PUBLISHED: 11:20 06 July 2018 | UPDATED: 12:32 06 July 2018
A controversial move which will allow cars to use part of a bus and cycle route is to go ahead, to the anger of people who objected.
West Norfolk Council last year secured planning permission for three new access roads on the southern part of Hardings Way in King’s Lynn, to serve new housing developments on either side of the road.
But to allow that to happen, cars would need to use part of a section of Hardings Way currently designated only for buses, cyclists and pedestrians.
Norfolk County Council is responsible for traffic regulation orders, so members of County Hall’s environment, development and transport committee had to make a decision today on whether to allow cars to use a 125m section.
More than 80 people had objected to the move.
People living around the route fear the move will lead to the entire route being opened.
Parents fear more traffic, particularly lorries, would pose a risk to children walking to Whitefriars School.
Independent county councillor Alexandra Kemp, who represents Clenchwarton and King’s Lynn South, had called for the decision to rest with a public inquiry, rather than the council, but officers said the committee was the appropriate forum for the decision.
She said: “This is a very serious issue which increases the safety risks, including to disabled people.
“The disability audit says there would be a significant detrimental impact.
“This is the route to local parks and a Sustrans safe route to schools.
“You should respect the strong local feeling on this.”
She said it went against the council’s own policies to promote walking and cycling and would lead to HGVs using the route.
Tim East, Liberal Democrat councillor for Costessey said he shared concerns over the impact on people with disabilities.
He said: “It seems to me we need to listen more carefully to people who live there.”
But Conservative councillor Thomas Smith, who represents Gaywood South, said it was only a section of the road which would be opened and only for access to the new developments.
And he added: “If I had come in here and offered to open it all up, I’d have so many people in King’s Lynn offering to buy me a pint that I might die from alcohol poisoning.”
The traffic regulation order was agreed by the committee, which led an angry Miss Kemp to say: “You should be ashamed of yourselves. This is a travesty of justice.”