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Parents say £850,000 ring road change out of date before work has finished

PUBLISHED: 16:09 12 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:11 12 May 2020

Work on Colman Road is to restart. Pic: Dan Grimmer

Work on Colman Road is to restart. Pic: Dan Grimmer

Archant

A controversial £850,000 ring road shake-up in Norwich is out-of-date before it has even finished, according to parents of schoolchildren.

Parents of children at Colman Infant School and Colman Junior School were opposed to the council plans. Photo: Neil DidsburyParents of children at Colman Infant School and Colman Junior School were opposed to the council plans. Photo: Neil Didsbury

Work in the Colman Road area, including changes to traffic light timings and alterations to pedestrian crossings, started in January, but was put on hold because of the coronavirus lockdown.

The work, which council bosses said will cut congestion, had been opposed by parents of children at nearby Colman Infant and Junior Schools, who staged protests against the changes.

School governors and local councillors had also criticised the plans.

They had argued that changing the crossings and narrowing pavements made it more dangerous for youngsters walking to and from school.

Parents have criticised the narrow path outside the Colman Federation schools. Pic: Jo Phillips.Parents have criticised the narrow path outside the Colman Federation schools. Pic: Jo Phillips.

And they say the government’s call, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, for councils to make roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists, shows the approach taken was “short-sighted”.

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They say the newly narrowed path leading from Colman Road to the school entrances in South Park Avenue, makes it impossible to socially distance once all children go back to the classroom.

Jo Phillips, one of a group of parents who had urged the council not to make the changes, said: “There is a complete lack of pavement space and a blind corner where Colman Road/South Park Avenue meet, which was always going to be impractical, but will now make any form of social distancing for parents taking their children to Colman Federation schools impossible.

“It’s galling that Norfolk County Council completely ignored our pleas to consider those who walk and cycle on this crossing.

“Their plan has effectively failed before the works have even finished as this kind of thinking, prioritising the car, has within a few short months been shown to be incredibly short-sighted.”

But a spokesman for Transport for Norwich said they intended to complete the work as planned. They said: “We are already exploring a number of schemes to improve walking and cycling provision across the city in light of the latest government announcement.

“But our current intention for this particular project, designed to deliver benefits for both motorists and pedestrians in the longer term, is to complete it as planned.

“We are reviewing the safety of all our sites, to see what extra measures may need to be put in place to protect both our staff and the public ahead of any construction restarting and we will continue to monitor this in line with the latest government guidance on the reopening of schools and the need to support provision of social distancing.”

MORE: Call to close Norwich streets to help cyclists and pedestrians get to work


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