£800k roadworks branded 'waste of time and effort'

St Stephens Road in Norwich city centre

St Stephens Road in Norwich city centre is mooted for an £800,000 revamp - Credit: Google Street View

Residents and councillors have said they are not sure what problem is being fixed by an £800,000 city roadwork plan.

A series of changes have been approved for the St Stephens Road area of Norwich, including one-way roads, a new 20mph zone and a segregated cycle lane.

On Thursday, the transforming cities committee, which includes members of Norfolk, Norwich, Broadland and South Norfolk council, approved the plans despite members concerns.

Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors abstained from voting, saying it failed to address what residents wanted.

Labour councillor Emma Corlett, who has been engaging with residents about the plans, said: “We've had quite a lot of feedback in the last week since the final proposals were made and I still think there is an overarching feeling from a significant number of residents that they're still not quite sure what the problem is that's trying to be solved. 

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“Particularly as it wasn't possible to do any footpath widening on St Stephens along the side of the road that is predominantly used by students.” 

Emma Corlett has refused calls for her to stand aside in North Norfolk Pictures: supplied by Emma Co

Norfolk County councillor Emma Corlett - Credit: Archant

Lib-dem Brian Watkins said there are "good elements" to the plan, particularly the 20mph speed limit on St Stephens Road, but said it needed to be properly police. 

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Mr Watkins echoed Ms Corlett's concerns about the lack of pavement widening, saying it should have been a "key element".

The plans were approved four votes for and four abstentions.

Speaking after the committee, residents in the St Stephens Road area had a mixed reaction.

Brian Watkins, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Eaton. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

Brian Watkins, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Eaton. - Credit: Liberal Democrats

Ms Barton-Shortt, a Grove Road resident, said closing the left turn to her road would make life more difficult and branded the one-way plans "ridiculous". 

Fellow Grove Road residents, Olivia Campey and Will Johnson, said they were not sure they could see the benefit of the plans.

Mr Johnson said he would rather have seen the bus lane removed because it got little use out of peak hours other than catching out visitors to Norwich. 

"I'm not sure why it needs to be one way," Ms Campey added.

"It seems like a bit of a waste of time and effort relative to what they could do."

St Stephens Road junction

St Stephens Road junction - Credit: Archant

Niel Campfield, a Kingsley Road resident, said it was positive to see improvements for pedestrians, but was concern about the vibrations from large vehicles going over speed bumps and its impact on the older properties.

Mr Campfield said a right turns out of Kingsley Road was already difficult and he had taken to using the Grove Road left turn to loop round, which would no longer be possible.

What's in the plans?

In total 16 proposals were approved by the committee, including: 

  • Closure of left turn into Grove Road from St Stephens Road 

  • Restrict to one-way traffic on Grove Road heading towards the junction with St Stephens Road 

  • Restrict to a 7.5-tonne weight limit on Grove Road, Victoria Street and Kingsley Road 

  • Provide a two-way segregated cycle lane on Grove Road into the junction with St Stephens Road 

  • Footway widening on Ipswich Road near to the Grove Road junction 

  • Optimise traffic signals for pedestrians, cycles, buses and general traffic 

  • Widen the existing pedestrian crossing on St Stephens Road 

  • New 20mph zone on St Stephens Road 

  • One-way traffic on Grove Avenue from Ipswich Road to Grove Walk 

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