Public to get say over £2.6m Prince of Wales Road shake-up

Traffic will still be allowed to use Prince Of Wales Road in Norwich after a U turn in pedestrianisa

Traffic will still be allowed to use Prince Of Wales Road in Norwich after a U turn in pedestrianisation plans. - Credit: Archant

The public will get their say next month over a multi-million pound shake-up of Norwich's Prince of Wales Road and its surrounding roads.

Council bosses had originally planned to close Prince of Wales Road to general traffic, to speed up buses.

But they have decided not to go ahead with that, after traffic modelling showed it would actually slow them down.

The potential closure was first mooted in 2009, with proposals to extend the bus route from St Stephen Street along Prince of Wales Road.

Council bosses had proposed making Prince of Wales Road two-way, with only buses, taxis and cyclists allowed. Rose Lane would also be made two way.

But, with changes in traffic elsewhere in the city since the closure was first put forward, traffic modelling has shown shutting Prince of Wales Road and making Rose Lane two-way would lead to slower, not quicker, average bus journey times.

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In some cases, they would be almost two minutes slower, so council bosses have scrapped the closure plan.

Instead, they have come up with revised proposals for the area, which councillors today agreed to put out for consultation.

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Four weeks of public consultation will start next month and, depending on the responses, councillors could agree the plans in July.

Mike Stonard, Labour city councillor and vice chair of the Norwich highways agency committee, said this was a good example of officers realising the importance of changing tack after looking at the detail.

He said: 'I do think this will be a much improved environment for the Prince of Wales Road area.'

Among changes proposed are:

• Narrowing Rose Lane to two traffic lanes and removing the bus lane. King Street would be closed to general traffic and the traffic lights at St Vedast Street removed, with a give way system instead. The council says that would improve flow and allow the pavement to be widened and a cycle lane put in place.

• A new contraflow cycle lane in Prince of Wales Road heading towards the city centre.

• Closing Eastbourne Place to traffic, with a new public space created on Prince of Wales Road.

• A two-way link between Prince of Wales Road and Mountergate. Traffic leaving Mountergate, including the new car park, would be able to turn right towards the station, rather than being forced left.

• New layout of Agricultural Hall Plain

• Closure of St Faith's Lane to traffic

• Contraflow cycle lane on Bank Street and shared cycleway on King Street.

There is £2.6m available to make changes, but officers say they may need to apply for extra cash for the later stages of the project.

They acknowledged the work, which could start this September, will cause disruption, but say it would be undertaken in phases.

Work on Rose Lane and King Street would probably start first.

The decision not to ban traffic from Prince of Wales Road had disappointed bus operators.

And Green city councillor Denise Carlo was similarly disappointed.

She asked council officers why that couldn't have been made to work.

Bruce Bentley, principal transportation planner at Norwich City Council said if the general traffic had been removed from Prince of Wales Road, it would have heaped pressure on Riverside Road, while the busy nature of the junction at Agricultural Hall Plain also complicated the plans.

The changes are part of the wider Transport for Norwich scheme, which has seen millions of pounds spent on shake-ups around the city.

Traffic changes so far have included shake-ups for Rouen Road, Golden Ball Street, Tombland, Grapes Hill, Newmarket Road and Eaton.

Changes to Chartwell Road and Brazen Gate are now under way.

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