Norwich bus stop moved after families complain passengers were invading their privacy

A bus stop in a Bowthorpe street has been moved - after a family complained their privacy had been ruined by passengers on double-decker buses staring into their home.

And they proved their point by waving out of the window to bus pasengers... who all waved back.

The bizarre situation was sparked in Clover Hill Road after First East England introduced more double-decker buses onto its 21/22 route last summer.

Matt and Sandra Stevenson became so fed up with passengers on the top floor of the bigger buses staring into their Walcott Close home when pulling into a lay-by onto which their house backs, that they felt compelled to take action.

And First bosses, after discussions with Norfolk County Council, have agreed to shift the bus stop around 100 yards down the road.


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Yet Mrs Stevenson, a nurse at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said she and her husband are still far from happy. She said: 'Our privacy has just gone. I used to like to have a little sunbathe in the garden in the summer but now I feel like I have to hide up, it's awful.'

Andrew Wiltshire, who represents Bowthorpe on Norwich City Council, was approached by the couple about their concern. He raised the issue at a City Hall meeting in January and was told it was an issue for First to deal with.

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The Conservative councillor said: 'The problem arose because they switched to double-decker buses on that route.

'I had complaints from people living there about the people looking into their gardens. The concern was that it was an invasion of their privacy.

'People on the bus could see into their gardens and into their homes and they were not happy.

'We had several conversations with First buses about negotiating some sort of solution and they agreed to move the bus stop on a trial basis.

'It now overlooks a footpath and, while it does look towards the window of a home there, the occupant said they had no problem with it.'

The couple appreciate the help they have received in getting the bus stop moved, but the stop on the opposite side of the narrow road means that double-decker buses are still regularly overlooking their home.

Mrs Stevenson, 54, is worried about the affect it has had on her husband's health, such is the worry it has caused him in trying to change the situation.

After 23 years living in their detached house Mr Stevenson, 55 and also a health worker at the N&N, said: 'We just want some respite because it is constant, we've lost our privacy.

'When Andrew Wiltshire came round here to talk to us I took him upstairs and showed him what it is like. My easy trick to see if they are looking is to wave at them and see if they wave back. When Andrew was here I waved and a load of them waved back so it just proved my point.

'We've tried to suggest that just single-deckers are used at evenings and weekends but First don't seem interested in that.

'I don't think we are being unreasonable, but it is over 1,000 buses every week, even with just one or two people on every bus gawking at us, that is a lot.'

A spokeswoman for First East England confirmed: 'We were made aware of complaints about privacy issues regarding the bus stop lay-by that serves Clover Hill Road, just before the bus lane onto Earlham Green Lane.

'Alan Pilbeam, MD First East England arranged a meeting with Norfolk County Council; which runs and manages all bus stops in the area, to see if anything could be done. It was agreed that the bus stop be moved further down the road.'

But a spokesman for transport pressure group Norfolk Buswatch said it was ridiculous that a bus stop, especially one with a purpose built lay-by, should be moved for such a reason.

He warned there was a danger other people might follow suit with complaints and questioned whether more services could be disrupted.

He said: 'Whilst the bus operator is merely trying to maintain good community relations, public transport is being disrupted, its users are being inconvenienced and taxpayers' money is being wasted.

'Bus stops and their infrastructure on public property are the responsibility of Norfolk County Council who must be given powers to reject spurious arguments against the siting and positioning of bus stops and their use by local bus operators.'

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