‘Softly-softly’ pledge over Norwich driver fines once St Stephens Street shuts to traffic

St Stephens Street in Norwich. From 10am tomorrow, general traffic will be banned from the road. Pho

St Stephens Street in Norwich. From 10am tomorrow, general traffic will be banned from the road. Photo by Simon Finlay. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Transport chiefs have promised a 'softly-softly' approach to drivers who fall foul of the biggest shake-up in years to how traffic uses Norwich city centre.

But, with general traffic banned from St Stephens Street from 10am tomorrow, bosses at Norfolk County Council have warned new regulations will be enforced in the weeks ahead.

As part of the £1.7m Transport for Norwich scheme, a new bus lane has been installed in Grapes Hill and Chapel Field North made two way.

But bus gates have been put in place in St Stephens and in Rampant Horse Street.

General traffic will be banned from both roads after tomorrow. with buses, bicycles and taxis the only vehicles allowed down the roads.


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Drivers who head down those roads once cars have been banned run the risk of being hit with a fixed penalty notice. That will cost £60, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days and hiked to £90 if not paid within 28 days.

However, council bosses have said they will hold back on enforcement while people get used to the changes. Instead, traffic marshalls will be used to make drivers aware of the new rules.

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John Birchall, spokesman for Norfolk County Council, said: 'There will be a softly-softly approach to start, but there will come a point where we will have to enforce it, otherwise people will not feel that we are serious.

'For the first few days, traffic marshalls will be directing people and, where appropriate, handing drivers leaflets about the changes.'

Chapel Field North re-opened as a two-way road earlier this week, with the traffic lights at the Grapes Hill roundabout switched back on.

Some motorists had said traffic flowed more easily around the roundabout when they were off, but council bosses they had to be switched back on for safety reasons. Traffic was heavy in Norwich yesterday morning, with queues up Grapes Hill.

• What's your view on the changes? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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