New river bus service for Norwich

A new river bus service has been proposed as a temporary measure to spearhead the regeneration of East Norwich, while money problems delay work on part of the scheme.

The whole regeneration project is being held up because of delays to the development of a site north of the river Wensum, known as the Utilities site, where a new office complex is proposed.

The new bus service has been proposed to allow developers to bypass that site and progress work on the other parts of the regeneration area that are ready to go forward.

The new link would bring people into the city from the planned regeneration areas in Trowse, where hundreds of homes could be built if plans are approved.

In the long-term the river service will be replaced by the bascule bridge link across the river Wensum for pedestrians, cyclists, emergency and service vehicles to be delivered by the owners of the Utilities site.

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The plans are being proposed by Norwich-based planning consultants, Lanpro Services whose director Phil Atkinson said plans to deliver this service between the Deal ground site in Trowse and land next to Norwich City FC was an interim measure.

The service would be free to pedestrians and cyclists and would be available for use from 6am to midnight from Monday to Sunday until 2013.

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Mr Atkinson said it was an exciting and positive development that also could provide a temporary solution to the city's transport problem.

He said: 'The service would allow an alternative to car-based use.

'The whole regeneration of East Norwich is currently being put at risk because of the Utilities scheme, which is suffering from a lack of money.

'This is designed to bypass that site, so hopefully when houses are built on the other developments, people will have access to the city by river.

'The pontoon/river bus service will provide a temporary connection between the sites than can be delivered now, and bypass those that cannot.'

Lanpro's application proposes the development of two new river bus pontoons, access ramps, and quay heading fixtures on the north bank of the river near to Norwich City Football Club and on the south bank of the Deal Ground.

The distance between the two quay stops is about 400m, and with a 5-mile per hour speed limit, the travel time per trip is about three minutes.

The new service will allow access from the extended Riverside Walk through the city centre to NCFC across to the Deal ground, providing access to Trowse, Bracondale and Whitlingham Country Park.

Plan to develop the Deal ground site with 682 new hones, including affordable housing, and 25,000 sq ft of commercial space, were submitted earlier this year.

And Mr Atkinson said that plans for the regeneration area between the football club and Laurence Scott owned by Broadland Housing Association, where about 200 homes are to be built, would soon be submitted.

The current proposals will also ensure that the temporary Sustrans Connect2 route is delivered along its entire planned length in the short-term.

In 2007 the Sustrans Connect 2 project for new bridges connecting Whitlingham and Thorpe St Andrew to Norwich secured �900,000 of lottery funds after winning the backing of TV viewers in a public phone-in.

Do you know of any new innovative schemes coming to Norwich? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email

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