Controversial plans for Norwich’s Newmarket Road are ditched

An unpopular plan which would have seen almost half the year's budget for road improvements in Norwich spent on a single scheme families did not want has been ditched.

Council officers had proposed spending �170,000 on changes at the junction of Newmarket Road with Eaton Road and Leopold Road.

They hoped the changes, including creating two outbound traffic lanes between Daniels Road roundabout and the junction, would combat congestion and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

But families living in and around Leopold Road were not happy with the ban on right hand turns into that road from Newmarket Road which would have been needed to allow two lanes of traffic heading out of Norwich.

They said it would push traffic onto other narrow residential streets such as Upton Road, Melrose Road and Waldeck Road.

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Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton, said, while she was completely in favour of improvements to the traffic lights and the pedestrian crossing, she was against the right turn ban.

She said: 'We accept the roundabout becomes congested because of traffic on Newmarket Road but that is also caused by traffic on the ring road. 'I am concerned that we are talking about spending half the budget on something which will not be effective in tackling that congestion.'

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Members of the Norwich highways agency committee agreed, with Mervyn Scutter, Liberal Democrat councillor for Eaton, saying: 'Even if there was a billion pounds available, please don't spend it on this scheme.'

The committee agreed to make changes to lights and the pedestrian crossing, but not to introduce the right turn ban. Council officers believe tose changes could be made for �50,000.

That will leave �50,000 remaining in the �205,000 budget for capital improvement schemes in 2011/12 and officers will be asked to identify schemes that could be spent on.

• The committee also agreed to start consultation on a scheme which would allow cyclists to travel the 'wrong way' up a city one way street.

Members agreed that the public should be asked about a contraflow cycle lane in Duke Street between Colegate and St Andrews cycle park.

Other streets, such as Westwick Street, Farmers Avenue, Chapelfield North, Tombland, Westlegate and Prince of Wales Road could follow suit in the future.

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