Traffic to be banned on city centre streets after three quarters back move to boost businesses
PUBLISHED: 14:24 26 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:31 26 June 2020
The bulk of traffic will be banned from two Norwich city centre streets within days to help cafes and restaurants thrive and for pedestrians to maintain social distancing.
More than three quarters of people backed proposals to make temporary changes to St Benedicts Street and Exchange Street.
From Friday, July 3, hardly any traffic will be allowed to use the streets, giving pedestrians extra space and opening up potential for outdoor dining.
Of the 381 people who responded to Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council’s short-notice consultation, 76pc (289) showed outright support. Others supported subject to certain conditions being met, while nine per cent (36 people) did not support the plans.
Concerns were raised around pavement obstructions and signs, restrictions to access and loading, and the wider traffic impacts of closing Exchange Street to general traffic, which led to a number of minor modifications.
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Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: “We hope the revised changes have taken all feedback on board and will help people to feel safe whilst also supporting the city’s economic recovery.
“Our actions have been boosted by timely government announcements surrounding social distancing and the re-opening of pubs, cafes and restaurants. We will continue to consult with all stakeholders on any further possible measures in other parts of the city.”
The city council’s licensing team will be contacting businesses to help with licensing and to explain what areas could be available for outdoor seating.
Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, said: “These changes will hopefully make a real and positive difference to how people use the city in the coming months.
“Looking to the future, we’re also reviewing what can be done in Magdalen Street, St Giles Street, Upper St Giles and Surrey Street and will share proposals as soon as we can.”
Council officers are aware of the potential impact the closures could have on other roads. Traffic on the Grapes Hill roundabout will be closely monitored, with council officers saying traffic signal timings could be adjusted if big queues build up.
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