'Tremendous' impact of NDR heightens calls for relief road around villages
PUBLISHED: 08:30 08 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:54 10 February 2020
Calls have been made for a new relief road to ease the pressure on the congested high streets of two twin villages.
Residents of Horstead, next to Coltishall, say a new road could be the solution, after what they say has been a noticeable rise in traffic through their villages since the opening of Broadland Northway, and development in North Walsham.
Campbell Jones, chairman of Horstead Parish Council, said there was support for a relief road that would ease the pressure on Coltishall/Horstead as well as Hoveton/Wroxham.
Mr Jones said it could consist of two roads north of the villages, one coming off the Norwich-Stalham road, and the other off the Norwich-North Walsham Road, which would link somewhere south of Wroxham Barns and cross the River Bure on a new bridge.
But he said deciding where such a road would go would be difficult.
Mr Jones said: "We want a relief road, but wherever it goes it's going to upset people. Ideally you want something coming off the B1150 and coming past both villages but whichever way it goes, it would end up going through somewhere quite sensitive."
Figures show the daily average number of vehicles passing through the B1150 Norwich Road at Horstead, next to Coltishall, was 4,676 in December 2017, and 6,370 in December 2019.
The data, recorded by an SAM2 speed awareness sign, represents a 36pc rise.
Suzanne Hall, clerk of Coltishall and Horstead parish councils, said the figures showed the new Norwich ring road, commonly called the Northern Distributor Road (NDR), was having a "tremendous impact".
Mrs Hall said: "It's quite a phenomenal change. It's bringing a lot more traffic onto the road and we're seeing a lot more heavy goods vehicles come through the village.
"It's a bit of a double whammy for us because North Walsham is growing as a town with a lot of construction going on."
But a Norfolk County Council spokesman said the figures did not show an accurate 'before and after NDR' picture as two stretches of the road had already been opened by December 2017.
The council spokesman said: "We are currently looking at the transport impacts of growth in market towns including Wroxham and Hoveton.
"The Broadland Northway has made journeys easier and swifter for thousands of drivers and, as predicted, our traffic monitoring has shown that the new route has successfully cut rat running on small country lanes with many more drivers now staying on the more appropriate main A and B roads."
Mrs Hall said the parish council had held talks with Wroxham and Hoveton parish councils about the possibility of another crossing over the River Bure built between the villages.
Both Coltishall and Wroxham/Hoveton are served by narrow bridges - Wroxham Bridge was built in 1619 replacing an earlier crossing and is an scheduled ancient monument, the same class of protection as Stonehenge.
Malcolm Allsop, vice chairman of Wroxham Parish Council, said they had not seen a noticeable increase in traffic on their main road, the A1151, since Broadland Northway opened. But Mr Allsop said the Wroxham Bridge already had more than five million traffic movements a year.
He said: "The problem with the A1151 is that in the summer months it was would be impossible to carry any more cars."
Fran Whymark, Norfolk county councillor for Wroxham ward, also called for something to be done.
Mr Whymark said: "I fully support any changes that would alleviate the traffic problems in both Horstead and Wroxham.
"With the growth planned in Broadland and north Norfolk additional pressure will be put on these crossings.
"They are inadequate now and this will only get worse as housing increases."
Matthew Shorten, who works at Hewitt and Grant Heritage Butchers in Coltishall's High Street, is among local who have noticed a difference.
Mr Shorten, who has been a butcher in the village for 25 years, said: "There has definitely been an increase, but I don't think it has just been this road. The development of North Walsham probably hasn't helped.
"There's meant to be a 20mph limit through the village but nobody does that.
"Parking has always been another issue."
Traffic through Horstead/Coltishall: Community views
Silvia Howard, Horstead resident, said: "I've lived here for 30 years and the amount of traffic now is far more than it ever was. Certainly since the NDR (Northen Distributor Road) and there a lot more houses now too. I think the volume of traffic has increased everywhere but in the smaller villages it has had quite an effect.
"The speed is another factor. I think there could be quite a major accident if people don't slow down."
Alex Pine, 94, of Buxton Road, Horstead, said: "I'm partially sighted, and the speed of cars that go past our house is frightening. You can't do much about the amount of traffic, but trying to get out of there is absolutely ridiculous."
Lisa Thacker, 41, of Horstead, said: "I have two young children and it would be nice if we could do something. The NDR is fantastic, but for the little villages it has definitely changed things.
"You get lorries trying to come through which are too big for the corners. We could do with a bypass really."
Bridget Fryer, Robert Norgate Close, Horstead, said: "I have an awful time just getting onto the A1150 because the traffic is absolutely dreadful. Sometimes I've sat there for 10 minutes just waiting to get out there onto the road. The lorries are so wide that when they come around the corners you have to stop - they go over the white line.
"The development in North Walsham and the NDR have had an effect. You just wonder where we are going."