Families win fight over Dereham Road bus scheme

People who live off one of Norwich's busiest roads have won their fight to stop changes which they say would have sent rat-runners down their streets.

The stalemate over plans to speed up buses on Dereham Road has been broken, after new proposals for changes to the road were agreed by councillors.

Dereham Road had been picked as the first of six bus corridors through Norwich, where changes would be made to give buses increased priority.

Council officers hoped that the �1.5m scheme would speed up buses and encourage operators to provide higher quality, faster and more reliable services. But the initial scheme would have banned right turns into Old Palace Road from Dereham Road heading out of the city, or into Heigham Road for cars heading into the city. And families said that would lead to rat-running through nearby streets, such as Gladstone Street, Nelson Street and Northumberland Street.

They collected hundreds of signatures on petitions and called on council officers to rethink their proposals, which led to further consultation over the scheme.

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And at a meeting of the Norwich Highways Agency Committee, made up of city and county councillors yesterday (Thursday), people power won out.

Council officers put forward a proposal which will speed up buses, make it easier for pedestrians to cross the road, but will not ban the right hand turns.

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Claire Stephenson, leader of the opposition Green group at the city council, said: 'We have now arrived at the right decision and it is an excellent recommendation. I think the consultation that has been carried out has been very good, but it is a shame it did not happen in the first place as I know there was a lot of anxiety among the residents.'

Bert Bremner, cabinet member for planning and transportation at the city council, said: 'As I said when this first came to the committee, I could see the problems and I would have instantly voted against it based on experience.

'But we believe in consultation and wanted to find out exactly what people felt.'

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