Decision due on £2.75m shake-up for area around Prince of Wales Road

A decision will be made today over a shake-up for the area around Prince of Wales Road in Norwich. P

A decision will be made today over a shake-up for the area around Prince of Wales Road in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

A decision over a £2.75m shake-up of how traffic uses the Prince of Wales Road area of Norwich will be made next week, amid split opinions over the merits of the scheme.

The project would see changes in Prince of Wales Road, Rose Lane, Mountergate, King Street and Upper King Street.

Council bosses had originally proposed banning general traffic from Prince of Wales Road and making it two-way, with only buses, taxis and cyclists allowed. Rose Lane would have been made two-way for general traffic to use.

But, traffic modelling showed shutting Prince of Wales Road and making Rose Lane two-way would lead to slower, not quicker, average bus journey times.The project now on the table would see Rose Lane narrowed and the bus lane removed.

New contraflow cycle lanes would be installed in Prince of Wales Road and Bank Street, with a shared cycleway in King Street.

St Faith's Lane and Eastbourne Place would be closed to traffic, with a new public space created on Prince of Wales Road.

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There would also be a new two-way link between Prince of Wales Road and Mountergate. That would mean traffic leaving Mountergate, including the new car park, would be able to turn right towards the station, rather than being forced left.

Consultation over the proposals was carried out earlier this year, with more than 350 responses.

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A report which will go before councillors states: 'The responses to the proposals were fairly evenly balanced, but many of the concerns raised about adverse impacts on particular groups, and in particular motorists, are not consistent with the assessment of traffic impacts that has been undertaken.

'Consequently, officers believe that the principles of the scheme remain sound and there is no reason not to progress with the scheme in principle.'

Following the consultation, three new elements have been added - a length of bus lane on Market Avenue, an extra loading bay on Market Avenue and a ban on loading in Rose Lane and Market Avenue, except in specific bays.

Members of the Norwich highways agency committee, made up of city and county councillors, will meet on Thursday next week to decide whether to go ahead with the shake-up, which start in the autumn, if it goes ahead.

What did people say?

This is what people said in the consultation:

• Seventy-seven objected to closing King Street and 72 supported it

• Forty-six supported proposals for Rose Lane, but 39 people thought it would increase traffic

• The two-way link between Mountergate and Prince of Wales Road had 90 supporters

• Twenty-three felt closing Eastbourne Place was not a good idea

• Thirty-four backed the Prince of Wales Road proposals, with 23 specifically citing the contraflow cycle lane. But 17 opposed that on safety grounds.

• Forty said the scheme was not value for money as there were too many benefits for cyclists, while 15 said greater priority should be given to motorists.

• Twenty-seven people said the money should be spent elsewhere, while 28 said the scheme would not bring any benefits.

• Twelve said they disliked it because it would not benefit all road users.

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