What lies ahead for Prince of Wales Road?

Prince of Wales Road in Norwich. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Prince of Wales Road in Norwich. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Archant

As the centre of Norwich's night-life, it has drawn criticism for regular anti-social behaviour and is even the focus of an upcoming Jeremy Kyle documentary.

And while some believe in recent times it has changed for the betters, other shop owners and businesses say they are 'ashamed' at the state of Norwich's Prince of Wales Road.

Incidents such as a brawl on Saturday night which saw more than 20 people taken into police custody do nothing to enhance the reputation of this major thoroughfare.

John Gordon-Saker, chief executive of Open, which runs the SOS Bus mobile help service in the road, is among those who believes something needs to change.

He said: 'There are a lot of closed-down clubs - it's part of the impression that it gives.

'My view as a Norwich resident is that it doesn't paint a particularly good picture of the city to people who have come from the railway station.

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Mr Gordon-Saker said nightclubs should take more responsibilty for the road and the welfare those who use it, perhaps by helping to fund the SOS Bus.

Gary Thompson, who has run a hairdressers there for 17 years, said he could remember when Prince of Wales Road was a much different place.

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He said: 'It used to have a cinema, a bowling alley, an arcade, a few furniture shops and lots of offices. But they have all gone and been replaced by clubs.

'But it's become the night-life street - it's completely different.'

But Mr Thompson said the face of Prince of Wales Road was changing again with development such as a new school - Charles Darwin Primary and Nursery in nearby Rose Lane - and the conversion of Grosvenor House, behind the former KFC, into 84 flats.

Vicky Hate is co-owner of the Departure Lounge cafe, which opened in the road about a year ago.

She said she thought she had already seen a change for the better.

She said: 'There seems to be a lot going on, so it should be a nice street again.'

But Bob Smith, who works in a pub on the road, said he was 'ashamed' of the state of it.

He said: 'Food gets dumped on the pavement and stays there for four days.

'It doesn't invite anybody to come to Norwich.'

Lesley Grahame, city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet ward, said there had been some improvement to the situation in the Prince of Wales Road area generally, but added: 'It's not pleasant and I am one of many people who would probably avoid going that way at the best of times.

'I understand young people want to have a good time. People drink and it's a controlled place.

'However older people want to go out and have a good time as well and they can't do that if their streets are full of vomit.'

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