Councils attempt to limit Christmas congestion on Norwich road network for shoppers

The announcement to extend 20mph speed limits throughout the city will make little or no difference,

The announcement to extend 20mph speed limits throughout the city will make little or no difference, says L J Paterson. ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Pressures on the city road network in Norwich will peak this Christmas and plans are being put in place to limit the impact on motorists.

Drivers have been subject to misery on the roads throughout the year as various schemes have been brought forward under Transport for Norwich.

Anticipating the effect of seasonal shoppers, the city and county councils have set up a one stop shop for online journey planning to help people make informed choices when travelling into Norwich.

All roadworks will also be suspended from the middle of November in a bid to relieve the pressure and boost local businesses.

Additional measures to help keep traffic flowing as freely as possible include the use of Variable Messaging Signs (VMS). These are being used to let drivers know when city centre traffic is at its peak so they can opt to use Park and Ride before reaching the centre, rather than facing possible delays.

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The Forum and John Lewis are also using traffic marshals at the entrances to their car parks to help make sure any queues don't obstruct general traffic, while Norwich police will have officers on hand to provide support for traffic management as needed.

Shoppers are being asked to make the most of extended hours on Park and Ride, use their local bus services and plan their journeys ahead by using websites like Hop>2 that show real-time parking information for the city's multi-storeys.

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A range of useful website links has been brought together on a Christmas journey planning page at

It's part of efforts by a partnership that includes the city and county councils, local business representatives and transport providers, which was set up to help prepare for the busiest time of year on the Norwich road network.

Councillor Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council's Chairman of Environment, Development and Transport Committee, said: 'We understand that shoppers want choice when it comes to their Christmas trips but by asking people to plan journeys ahead and make informed choices we hope it will spread any pressure on the network more evenly.

'Whether it's using Park and Ride or finding out in advance the best place to park, these small steps could add up to a big difference when it comes to reducing potential congestion in the city centre.'

Councillor Bert Bremner, Norwich City Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainable Development, said: 'Christmas is always going to be a busy time for the city's roads but by working together and with the help of shoppers and visitors we hope to keep traffic moving as freely as possible.

'A break in all planned road works from mid-November will also keep any disruption to a minimum during this time.'

Stefan Gurney, Executive Director of Norwich Business Improvement District, said: 'We are really pleased to have worked with all the partners to reduce possible delays this Christmas.

'The embargo on road works will work for all modes of transport, along with clear transport information allowing customers and visitors to make an informed decision on how to get into the city and reduce possible delays.'

Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council are working in partnership with: Castle Mall, First Eastern Counties, The Forum, intu Chapelfield, John Lewis, Konectbus, Norfolk Constabulary and Norwich Business Improvement District.

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