What would Alan Partridge think? Pedestrianisation of part of Norwich city centre up for national award

Westlegate, Norwich. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Westlegate, Norwich. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Alan Partridge might not have been a fan of the pedestrianisation of Norwich city centre - but a £3.3m scheme which removed traffic from Westlegate has been shortlisted for a national award.

Alan Partridge was "dead against" the pedestrianisation of Norwich city centre. Photo: Steve Adams

Alan Partridge was "dead against" the pedestrianisation of Norwich city centre. Photo: Steve Adams

Westlegate has been transformed through a Transport for Norwich scheme, which saw a new public space created and vehicles banned from the road.

And the project, which was completed between January 2016 and May 2017, has been shortlisted for an award by the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation.

In an episode of I'm Alan Partridge in 1997, Steve Coogan's character opined on the issue of the city's pedestrianisation. He said: 'I'll be honest, I'm dead against it. People forget that traders need access to Dixons.'

The Westlegate scheme is one of two projects in the city to make the shortlist. The other is a £10.3m scheme to improve the ageing drainage system in the north of Norwich and surrounding villages.

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Martin Wilby, chair of Norfolk County Council's environment, development and transport committee, said: 'It's fantastic to see two such important projects for Norwich shortlisted for this award.

'The drainage scheme has resolved a flooding issue we've seen in recent years, providing protection and peace of mind for local residents while Westlegate has become a vibrant, thriving new public space in the heart of the city. Either would be a worthy winner of the Project of the Year accolade.'

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Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council's vice-chair of Norwich highways agency committee, said: 'Since completion of the Transport for Norwich project to pedestrianise Westlegate, it's become a fantastic new public space that's integral to the vibrancy of our city centre.

'Shop units are now fully occupied and local cafes have chairs and tables outside – a complete transformation from just a couple of years ago.

'I'm delighted the scheme has been shortlisted and hope it goes on to win the award in recognition of all partners' efforts to deliver it to such a high standard.'

The winner of the award will be announced at an awards ceremony on Saturday, May 12.

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