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'Nothing to see here' - criticism of cycle lane is shrugged off by council

PUBLISHED: 12:18 25 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:18 25 September 2019

Richard Bearman from the Norwich Cycling Campaign measuring the new cycle lane in Prince of Wales Road. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Richard Bearman from the Norwich Cycling Campaign measuring the new cycle lane in Prince of Wales Road. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Archant

Critics of a new cycle lane which came under fire because of tree pits in the way of the route have "jumped the gun", say council leaders.

Norwich city councillor Mike Stonard. Pic: Archant.Norwich city councillor Mike Stonard. Pic: Archant.

Norwich Cycling Campaign had slammed the cycle track being installed in the city's Prince of Wales Road, because it has tree pits in the way.

They said the project, being done by Transport for Norwich - a partnership between Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council - is "an embarrassment".

Richard Bearman, from the campaign, had said: "It is so obviously totally unfit for purpose. This is in a very high-profile place and has the potential to become a defining meme for inept design."

However, council officers had said the scheme was still under construction and, when complete, it would provide a much wider area for cyclists.

And, at a city council meeting this week, Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council's cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, defended the work which was being done.

He said: "It's a non-story. The pedalway is not even completed.

""The cycling campaign have jumped the gun by criticising the scheme before it has been finished."

Mr Stonard said a decision had been taken not to remove the trees, but to build around them.

And he said the alternative would have been to put the cycle lane nearer to the road, which could have made it more probable that cyclists would be struck by people opening car doors.

He said: "The scheme is not finished yet. It was fully consulted on, the tree pits will be levelled off before it is opened, so there is nothing to see here."

The work is part of a £2.75m shake-up in Norwich city centre, which started in November last year.

King Street has been closed to traffic and changes made in Cattle Market Street and Rose Lane.

Direct links are also being created between Mountergate and Prince of Wales Road.

More than £2.3m of the money for the scheme is coming from the first phase of the government's Transforming Cities Fund to continue improvements in the area.

Extra cash is coming from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership's Local Growth Fund and £235,000 from local developer contributions.

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