Ageing Welcome To Norwich signs are finally set to be replaced - after more than 40 years of greeting visitors to 'a fine city'.

Norwich City Council agreed more than two years ago to set aside £15,000 to put in new signs, with the 1960s ones showing wear and tear.

Some of the existing ones are covered in grime, the ones in Newmarket Road and Sprowston Road have holes in them and the one near County Hall has long disappeared, with just the plate listing Norwich's twin cities remaining,

But, over the next two weeks, the signs will be replaced, still featuring the much-loved strapline 'a fine city' and the iconic design.

Under each of the signs, there will be two extra, smaller plates - one with the details of Norwich's twin cities and another marking the city's status as a UNESCO World City of Literature.

A third plate will be added to each at a later date and will feature the logo of local companies, which are signing up over the next few months to sponsor the different locations.

Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council, said: 'I'm so pleased to see our smart new signs being installed for everyone to enjoy.

'We know they've been a while in the making but we wanted to make sure they were right - I'm sure everyone will agree that their quality and vibrancy do our fine city justice.'

Chris Gribble, chief executive of Writers' Centre Norwich, said: 'We're delighted to work with Norwich City Council to help welcome visitors to the world's seventh UNESCO City of Literature.'

The signs were supplied by Swaffham company, IRS Signs, and will be installed by the council's contractor, Kier.

Most of the signs are replacing the existing ones in the same position and all are near the outer ring road.

The locations are Newmarket Road, Sprowston Road, Ipswich Road, Aylsham Road, Dereham Road, Drayton Road, Earlham Road, Thorpe Road and Trowse at the Barrett Road/southern bypass junction.

Each of nine signs measures 1.75m by 0.9m and is enamelled, which council bosses say will make the design much less susceptible to weathering and fading.

Vicky Manthorpe, from civic watchdog The Norwich Society, said it was 'wonderful' that the signs were being replaced at long last.

She said: 'We have been talking about this for a long time. It's high time they were replaced and we are looking forward to it.

'They have not been well-maintained over the years, but we are very happy that this is getting sorted out. We're also pleased that the design is not being changed.

'They have a retro feel to them which has come back into fashion since they were first put in!'

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