Police issue first fines after Norwich city centre traffic shake-up

Police have started to fine cars which flout the restrictions in St Stephens Street. Photo by Sophia

Police have started to fine cars which flout the restrictions in St Stephens Street. Photo by Sophia France. - Credit: Archant

The first fines have been issued to drivers caught flouting new road restrictions brought in following a major shake-up to Norwich city centre traffic.

After a three-week period of grace following changes, which includes general traffic being banned from St Stephens Street and Rampant Horse Street, Norfolk police have begun issuing £50 fines.

Yesterday afternoon, six fixed penalty notices were issued to drivers who had gone down St Stephens Street - which is now off limits to all but buses, taxis and cyclists.

When the changes were first introduced, bosses at Norfolk County Council, which introduced the changes, took a 'softly, softly' approach, with marshals stationed to advise drivers of the shake-up.

But Norfolk police are now taking action, with those caught committing an offence ordered to pay £50 or face being hauled before the courts.

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A police spokeswoman said: 'A large number of motorists continue to ignore these bus lane restrictions and following a three-week period of grace, we would urge drivers to familiarise themselves with the changes as officers start to enforce the law.'

The Norwich Evening News recently reported how, after a snap survey, up to 16 cars an hour were still using St Stephens despite the changes.

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The traffic shake-up is part of the £1.7m Transport for Norwich scheme, which has also seen a new bus lane installed in Grapes Hill and Chapel Field North made two-way.

Council bosses said the objective of the changes were to make the city centre more pedestrian-friendly, to encourage more shopping, and to improve punctuality and reliability of buses.

In the longer term, Norwich City Council has plans to install cameras which will provide 24-hour enforcement at the St Stephen's Street and Rampant Horse Street bus gates.

• What do you think of the changes? And are the police right to fine drivers? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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