‘Tantalising glimmer of hope’ for car congestion woes at popular park

Cars stuck in Eaton Park car park. PIC: Supplied.

Cars stuck in Eaton Park car park. PIC: Supplied. - Credit: Archant

A call has been made for a shake-up of the car park at a popular Norwich park, due to problems when it gets particularly busy.

Eaton Park. Pic: Sonya Duncan

Eaton Park. Pic: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Congestion in one of the car parks at Eaton Park has been especially bad this year, partly as a result of more people enjoying time outdoors during coronavirus.

And James Wright, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton, says it is time to explore whether to make changes to the car park, including creating a new exit and making it one-way.

In June, Norfolk police were called to the car park, near the pitch and putt course, after 30 cars got blocked in because of a parked car.

Motorists took almost an hour to get out of the park via South Park Avenue after the jam.

James Wright, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norwich City Council. Pic: Jamie Honeywood

James Wright, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norwich City Council. Pic: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

And Mr Wright says, while that was an extreme example, there are often problems because the park is such a popular destination.

He has tabled a question for Tuesday night’s meeting of the city council where he will call for City Hall to consider creating a new exit from the car park, leading on to North Park Avenue.

Mr Wright says that would mean a one-way system could be created, with cars entering the car park via South Park Avenue and leaving via North Park Avenue, where they would have to turn left.

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He said: “At busy times, the car park near the pitch and putt course can become an absolute nightmare, in terms of cars trying to move around.

“I’ve been contacted by people who want to see if there’s anything that can be done about it.

“Having listened to park users, we’ve come up with the idea that maybe there could be an exit on North Park Avenue, with a one-way system to prevent the problems.

“It looks to me like it could be possible and it might make sense to have left turn exits only on to North Park Avenue.” Mr Wright added: “The thing with Eaton Park is that, while it’s a popular local park, it’s a park which is used by people from all over the city and beyond.

“So, while we’d always encourage people to walk, cycle and get public transport, there are people who do come from further afield in their cars.”

At the meeting, Mr Wright said: “During periods of high park use, this car park can become gridlocked due to the number of vehicles and the single entrance and exit.

“One possible solution is to make the car park one way – entering via South Park Avenue and exiting via North Park Avenue. Would the cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing please commit to including such a scheme in future budget proposals?”

But Matthew Packer, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “The council is already aware that parking issues have occurred this summer.

“The council cannot commit on your specific proposal at this moment in time. Due to the pressure on resources considering a one way system is a not a high priority project at this moment in time.”

He added: “Officers are currently waiting for a cost to remark the bays and also for some additional marking to yellow line non-parking areas to try and resolve the problem. This will also include defining the disabled bays more clearly.”

Mr Wright thanked Mr Packer for his reply and “for offering a tantalising glimmer of hope to frustrated park users”.

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