Crossing concern as Tesco opens in former Norwich pub

Calls have been made for another crossing to be installed on a busy road to protect children and elderly people going to a new supermarket which has opened in a former pub.

Months of speculation over the future of the Firs pub in Hellesdon, which closed in September last year, ended in December when Tesco revealed it planned to open a new store at the site on Cromer Road.

The Tesco Express store was officially opened today by manager Ian Brown and Jess Down from the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) who received a �500 cheque for the charity.

But while the store was welcomed by shoppers in the area, fears have been raised about the safety of youngsters and elderly people trying to get to the store by crossing the busy A140 road which already has a crossing - but nowhere near the store.

Patricia Kirby, clerk of Hellesdon Parish Council, said: 'We opposed on the grounds of the impact on the highway and made reference to the fact there's no pedestrian crossing at that junction in respect of the application for the ATM.'

Rebecca Bell, 40, a parish councillor for Hellesdon, who will not be seeking re-election, said she is concerned about the safety of children and elderly people trying to access the store without a crossing.

The mother-of-two who lives on Holt Road, almost opposite the store, has urged both the store and the county council to consider installing another crossing on the road.

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She said: 'My main concern is road safety because of the lack of a pedestrian crossing and also the concern of residents who contacted me when it was at the planning stage.

'My oldest son is 11 and he and his friends were talking about going there after school to pick up sweets and so obviously its a concern - it's just too busy a road for them to cross. There are also elderly people who may be walking with frames who won't be able to cross the road quickly enough.'

Earlier this year a member of the parish council has wrote to Tesco to see if the company would be prepared to provide a crossing.

A Tesco spokesman said: 'We always try and work positively with local councils. We would be very happy to meet with local representatives to listen to any feedback they have and discuss their views about the road crossing.'

As reported in the Evening News, Tesco did not need planning permission for the store itself, as the pub is already deemed suitable for retail use, but did need to get approval from Broadland District Council for alterations, signs and a cash machine.

Daphne Middleton, 70, from Heath Close, off Cromer Road, said: 'I think it's all very nice - I shall be using it.'

Janet Jordan, 72, who also lives in Heath Close, said: 'It's better than I thought - much, much nicer - the general appearance is very good. My only concern is about the crossing.'

Are you calling for safety improvements to a busy road where you live? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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