Norfolk County Council to investigate alternate evacuation routes after objections

Council bosses have agreed to investigate alternate emergency evacuation routes out of County Hall before any final decision is made.

Norfolk County Council wants to clear overgrown grassland to create a cut-through from its Martineau Lane offices into Cricket Ground Road - in case of heavy snow or major traffic problems.

Neighbours have raised several concerns and fear their cul-de-sac could be ruined if vehicles are allowed to use it as a cut-through.

Norwich City Council is also among the objectors and recommended 'full consideration' must be given to alternative exits.

And following this pressure, the county council says no decision will be taken until it has completed studies into using Harriet Court's car park, or private road The Loaning into Conesford Drive then Bracondale.

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The authority says it favours the Cricket Ground Road route as it already owns the land, and this should keep costs down.

It is now reviewing the two other potential exits despite ruling them out due to lack of access rights and because they do not own the land.

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The council added an electricity sub-station in the Harriet Court route would make access for fire engines 'difficult or impossible'.

Norwich City Council, along with residents, also warned ground matting – used as a surface for vehicles to travel on – and a metal gate to keep the route closed will have a detrimental impact on the character of Cricket Ground Road.

The county council said it was 'happy' to review the gate's design.

Consultant Richard Barnes, of Cricket Ground Road, advises organisations on business to ensure they keep operating during an emergency, and said he was at a loss behind the apparent need for the route.

He said: 'This road adds no value to anything except to tick a box on a theoretical paper exercise. Once again it demonstrates how totally blind to normal economic thinking the public sector has become and how overwhelmed with bureaucratic waste.'

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