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Christmas shoppers urged not to drive into city centre amid congestion fears

PUBLISHED: 10:46 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:35 04 December 2019

Flashback to 2014, when traffic marshals were in use on the city's streets in the run-up to Christmas. Photo : Steve Adams

Flashback to 2014, when traffic marshals were in use on the city's streets in the run-up to Christmas. Photo : Steve Adams

Copyright Archant Norfolk

Christmas shoppers are being urged to avoid driving into the city centre this festive period - with no traffic marshals on duty on roads leading to Norwich's two malls.

Norfolk County Council used to hire traffic marshals - police-accredited civilians - to help manage traffic heading into the city over the festive period.

But they have no plans to do that this year, while the city's shopping malls intu Chapelfield and the Castle Quarter are not hiring marshals to manage traffic on public roads.

The Forum and John Lewis are paying for traffic marshals to help at particularly busy times, but council bosses have urged shoppers to consider using buses and park and ride services to head into the city.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: "We advise people to plan ahead for journeys and avoid driving into the city centre, where possible, by using park and ride or local bus services instead, or consider walking or cycling if you live close by.

"A number of park and ride sites are running extended evening and Sunday services."

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Paul McCarthy, general manager of intu Chapelfield said: "Car parks within the city can become full at peak times and our car park team ensures that all entry lanes are used so there are no delays at the entrance.

"Unfortunately our staff are not permitted to direct traffic on the public highway.

"We'd encourage all road users to be guided by the variable message signs displaying car park spaces across the city and to abide by road signs and markings showing where not to queue. Norwich is also fortunate to have a very good park and ride scheme."

Rob Bradley, centre manager at Castle Quarter, said: "We do not employ traffic marshals at Castle Quarter but make every effort to ensure that people using our car parks can get in and out quickly and safely during the busy Christmas period."

The Forum is providing traffic marshals from 3.30pm until 7.30pm on Thursdays (December 5,12 and 19), from 10am until 4pm on Saturdays (December 7, 14, 21 and 28) and on Sunday, December 22 and Friday, December 27).

And John Lewis will have them on Saturdays over the peak Christmas period.

Details of park and ride services are at www.norwichparkandride.co.uk/christmas2019

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