Calls for 'white elephant' bus lane to be opened for emergencies

Gary Blundell, Vice Chairman of Costessey Town Council, Dan Burrill, Chairman of Costessey Town Coun

Gary Blundell, vice chairman of Costessey Town Council, Dan Burrill, chairman of Costessey Town Council, and Sharon Blundell, county councillor for Costessey and district councillor for Old Costessey, at the bus lane off Poethlyn Drive in Queen's Hills estate in Costessey which they want opened up in emergencies. - Credit: Danielle Booden

A bus lane which has remained unused on the edge of a large housing estate for six years could finally be opened up to vehicles.

The link road from West Costessey Hall on Queen's Hills, on the edge of Norwich, was meant to connect the 1,879-home development with Ringland Lane which leads to West End in Old Costessey.

Building work is nearly complete on the estate which started around 2006 but because the bus lane has not been handed over to Norfolk County Council (NCC) by a consortium of developers it has not been used by public transport.

Costessey county councillor Sharon Blundell, from Queen's Hills, is pushing for the lane to be opened to motorists and emergency services when the estate's only road near Longwater Retail Park is blocked in certain scenarios including crashes.

She said: "The residents want another access to get out in an emergency. If the road is blocked, people who are quite often parents picking up school children, can be stuck for two hours."

Mrs Blundell, who added the lane would not be opened "willy-nilly".

The county councillor, who was due to discuss the issue with Norfolk Police, said: "It would be nice to get a bus there."

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Her husband Gary Blundell, Costessey Town Council vice-chairman, described the redundant bus lane as ridiculous.

He said: "It has been a white elephant for a while. We can get volunteers to open the gate but it is in the hands of the developers and NCC. If we can adopt the right emergency protocol it would be simple to put in place."

The bus lane off of Poethlyn Drive in Costessey which local councillors want opening in emergencies.

The bus lane off of Poethlyn Drive between Queen's Hills estate and Ringland Lane in Costessey. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Dan Burrill, town council chairman, said its members supported buses using the lane as well as opening it in emergencies.

He added: "It is still blocked up and is frustrating. We have done everything we can. It is up to the organisations to do their bit."

An NCC spokesperson said: "We remain keen to see infrastructure, including the bus lane, on Queen’s Hills adopted and continue to work with the consortium to help address any outstanding matters to ensure this can happen as soon as possible.”

A police spokesperson said: "Officers are meeting with the county council to discuss options around emergency access in the event of a major incident affecting the estate.”

The consortium has been contacted.

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