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Last chance to have say on city centre road changes to cope with coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 15:04 23 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:04 23 June 2020

St Benedicts Street in Norwich. Picture: Simon Parkin

St Benedicts Street in Norwich. Picture: Simon Parkin

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Temporary changes to two Norwich streets to help businesses cope and pedestrians socially distance during the coronavirus pandemic do not go far enough, say campaigners.

Plans were published last week showing how changes could be made temporarily to St Benedicts Street and Exchange Street, with people invited to have their say.

The idea is that, by banning general traffic and widening pavements, it will help pedestrians keep a safe distance apart and create surplus space which cafes and restaurants can use for seating.

Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council’s proposals for the first two streets - Exchange Street and St Benedicts Street - include restricting access for general traffic and loading activity to create more space for walking, queuing and the potential for pavement cafes.

It is also proposed that redundant signs, railings and other street furniture are removed, to de-clutter the streets.

Consultation over the changes ends today (Tuesday, June 23), and Green city councillors have said in their submission say that there should have been much more ambitious proposals - and sooner.

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Sandra Bogelein, Jamie Osborn and Martin Schmierer, the Green councillors for Mancroft ward, which covers St Benedicts Street and Exchange Street, said they fully support the specific proposals to increase space for walking, cycling and wheelchairs in the streets.

But they said they are “extremely concerned” the proposals “do not go anywhere near far enough”.

Green city councillor Sandra Bogelein. Photo: Neil DidsburyGreen city councillor Sandra Bogelein. Photo: Neil Didsbury

They said: “It is deeply worrying that it has taken more than five weeks for Norfolk County Council to come up with plans for just two streets in Norwich.

“By the time the county council implements the changes in the city centre of Norwich, people will have been back at work for weeks.”

They said this was an opportunity to “open up our city to a cleaner and happier way of living” and said: “Residents in our ward do not want to go back to the old days of congestion and cramped pavements.

“Instead they want to see Norwich looking to the future now, and that cannot be a future which is so dependent on cars.”

The councils will consider people’s views before deciding whether to make changes.

The proposals are on the consultation page at www.norfolk.gov.uk

Comments and questions can be emailed to cityhighways@norfolk.gov.uk by the end of today, saying which street plan you are commenting on in the subject line.


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