Business leaders pledge to keep close eye on impact of latest Norwich city centre road closures
- Credit: Archant
Business leaders have said they will keep a close eye on whether the latest shake-up of how traffic uses Norwich city centre heaps pressure on the inner ring road.
All Saints Street and part of All Saints Green closed to general traffic yesterday as work started again on the multi-million pound Transport for Norwich project.
The permanent closure, which will create a traffic-free space in All Saints Green, means traffic heading out of the city via Golden Ball Street now has to use Ber Street to reach Queens Road.
It follows a string of other changes, including the pedestrianisation of Westlegate, Golden Ball Street being made two-way, changes to Ber Street and a new roundabout and junction at Finkelgate,
Council bosses say the changes are making the city centre more attractive for pedestrians, while also giving motorists easier access to car parks.
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But the projects have been controversial, with some businesses saying months of work have affected their trade, while drivers have accused council bosses of making it too difficult to travel around Norwich.
And business leaders say they do have worries about the latest changes, which are due to be completed by Easter.
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Stefan Gurney, executive director of the Norwich Business Improvement District, said: 'There are still concerns from the BID over the levels of traffic on the inner ring road.
'We are hopeful that this latest closure will not increase traffic on the inner ring road or cause further disruption to the city, but we have raised concerns previously and they are still there.'
Further changes to cycle connections are also taking place, with work starting today on the shared-use pedestrian and cycle path in Newmarket Road.
Martin Wilby, chairman of Norfolk County Council's environment, development and transport committee, said: 'Changes to the Golden Ball Street area of the city centre are on the home straight now and we can look forward to seeing the full benefits it will bring to this part of Norwich. Improvements to cycling infrastructure on Newmarket Road will, I'm sure, also be welcomed by the increasing number of people using this route.
'Delivery of both projects has been designed to minimise disruption as much as possible but we do apologise for any inconvenience caused to road users.'
What do people think of the closures?
Zoe Slater, 38, from North Walsham, who works at Aviva, said: 'This is a nightmare, you can't get through the city any more. This used to be my commute into work now I have to go round an elongated route which has added 15 minutes to my journey. I prefer driving in London to this.'
Student Robert Fletcher, 20, from Wroxham, said: 'I do not think the tiny benefit it would add for pedestrians is worth the trouble it would cause for drivers.'
Laura Nicol, 23, from Shipdham, who works at Aviva, said: 'It is good to have more space here close to the city centre. It is so busy and at lunchtime you don't want to wait for ages for cars to go through.'
Clare Franklin, 50, from Earlham Road in Norwich, said: 'It will be a lot calmer here, it would be nice to use this as a creative space for plants and fountains.
'It will get people out of cars and using more public transport. It will be safer for shoppers not having to worry about cars but I know this could affect a lot of businesses here.'