Call for more city centre roads to go car free gets welcome, but not a vote

PUBLISHED: 20:15 21 July 2020 | UPDATED: 20:15 21 July 2020

A call for more of Norwich city centre to become car free was deferred by Norwich City Council. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

A call for more of Norwich city centre to become car free was deferred by Norwich City Council. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.


A call to ban or limit cars on more of the city centre’s roads and outside Norwich schools has been welcomed - but councillors decided not to hold a vote on it.

Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton. Pic: Archant Library.Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton. Pic: Archant Library.

Liberal Democrat city councillor Judith Lubbock had proposed a motion at a meeting of Norwich City Council, aimed at moving towards Norwich city centre becoming car free.

The motion called for the authority to explore whether there could be options to “significantly reduce or remove” non-essential motor traffic from “within the city walls”.

The motion, seconded by Green city councillor Ben Price, also asked to look into whether cars could be restricted or reduced on roads next to primary schools at drop off and pick up times.

But, at a meeting of the city council on Tuesday night, councillors voted, after a proposal by Labour councillor Mike Stonard to defer it, so it could be considered as part of a wider look at the city’s development.

Mrs Lubbock said coronavirus presented an opportunity for councils to make longer-term changes, with people more willing to walk and cycle.

Green city councillor Ben Price. Picture: Danielle BoodenGreen city councillor Ben Price. Picture: Danielle Booden

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She said: “York, Bristol, Oxford, Cardiff and Birmingham are all, in coming years, excluding unnecessary cars from the city centres. Norwich could be just one of many cities tackling difficult, but necessary changes.

“Why should one person wishing to travel in a car trump another who wishes to travel by bicycle? More people will cycle if they feel safe to do so and reducing vehicle speeds and making spaces safer is key to that.

“Norwich could emerge from this crisis to create a more inclusive and sustainable city.”

Mr Price said: “A key element of today’s motion is to restrict the use of motor vehicles outside schools, something I have previously called for. We are all aware that pollution from motor vehicles negatively impacts the lung and brain development of children.”

Mr Stonard, the council’s cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, said he welcomed the motion as in keeping with the council’s “direction of travel” over years.

But he said it would need careful consideration, including looking at impacts on businesses and accessibility, so recommended it be deferred to be considered as part of the Norwich 2040 Vision - a blueprint for how the city will develop.

After the deferral, Mr Price said: “I’m shocked that, yet again, Labour are putting the brakes on transport changes and kicking the climate, residents’ health and transport equality down the road.”

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