Norwich business owner warns of risks to pedestrians after changes to city centre roads

Paul Giles, from Gerald Giles shop on Ber Street, says the road system outside his shop is dangerous

Paul Giles, from Gerald Giles shop on Ber Street, says the road system outside his shop is dangerous.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A businessman has warned that city centre roads have become more dangerous since roadworks started across the city.

Paul Giles, managing director of Gerald Giles in Ber Street, and Snellings in Blofield, was prompted to speak out after an accident occurred outside his store last week.

It happened on Friday, October 21, when a motorcycle collided with a pedestrian.

Nobody was seriously hurt, but Mr Giles said it was one of many since the pedestrian crossing outside John Lewis had been removed.

He said: 'My staff witnessed them as my store is opposite John Lewis where one of the accidents happened and we see near misses every day.'

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He said he had asked for a temporary crossing to be put near his store, as the closest was further down Ber Street at Thorn Lane.

Now, he said he had written to the city council to highlight his main issues.

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He said: 'The speed of traffic in Ber Street has increased greatly outside our premises and near the roundabout, making it very dangerous to cross what is now a three-lane carriageway in a shopping area. With people attempting to cross the road near the roundabout an accident is bound to happen.

'The distance that pedestrians have to walk to cross safely to visit our shop is ridiculous now that the crossing at the top of Timber Hill has gone and the temporary crossing removed form outside the shop.

'They have to walk down towards Westlegate to cross to John Lewis, and then all the way past John Lewis car park to a crossing opposite Thorn Lane before then walking all the way back. Pedestrians will not bother to do this and people are already attempting to cross what is now a fast moving three-lane carriageway.'

He also said turning into the Gerald Giles car park was now dangerous, as traffic had to cross a new lane for the John Lewis car park.

He added: 'Without better crossings and the 20mph speed limit in place this area is now more dangerous than ever, as vehicles speed through the roundabout in all directions.'

A spokesperson for Transport for Norwich said: 'In direct response to concerns raised about crossing facilities in this area of Ber Street, a temporary traffic island is being put in place. A 20mph limit is also now in force along the length of Ber Street and this is combined with traffic calming measures such as speed cushions to keep vehicle speeds low.

'Each project is subject to a full safety audit. If any issues are raised as part of this process they will be addressed accordingly.

'Our team is in regular contact with businesses in the area and will continue to monitor the impact of recent changes.'

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