Tombland revamp may make it worse for cyclists, says campaign group
- Credit: Transport for Norwich
Cycling campaigners have said the £2.5m revamp of one of Norwich’s city centre streets will do nothing to help people on bicycles - and could make matters worse.
Work on a £2.5m revamp of the Tombland area of Norwich began earlier this month, with council bosses saying the work will increase facilities and access for cyclists and pedestrians, improve bus journey times and enhance the area.
But the work, due to continue for seven months and funded through the government’s Transforming Cities Fund, has been criticised by Norwich Cycling Campaign, who say suggestions made during the consultation were not taken on board.
Richard Bearman, from the campaign group, said: “The Tombland scheme does nothing for cyclists and in some ways, it will make it worse.
“For cyclists to get from Erpingham Gate to Queen Street, they will have to rejoin the road, which less confident cyclists may struggle with, especially with buses and taxis around.
“This is a landscaping scheme and not one which is good for cyclists. What was really needed was a segregated cycle lane to enable us to get round to St Faith’s Lane. We did suggest lots of changes early on in the process, but they were not taken up.”
Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, and chairman of the Transforming Cities joint committee, said: “Tombland is a busy area, in a historic part of the city, serving multiple uses to a range of people and requires sensitive handling.
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“The joint committee listened to all feedback gathered in the consultation, but ultimately we need to balance the needs of all users.
“We are delivering a number of improvements for walking and cycling to tie in with our work across the wider city centre but this project is also very much focused around reducing delays for public transport and removing the eyesore disused toilets to create more public space and support local businesses in the longer term.”
The timing of the work has been criticised by businesses in Tombland. Café owner Alex Campeao, who runs Copa Cubana on Upper King Street, said he had lost about 80pc of his trade since the roadworks started.