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Bus firm may soon restore Costessey store route

PUBLISHED: 17:00 31 March 2011

A First bus.

A First bus.

ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC © 2005

A major bus operator could soon restore a service which was withdrawn from operating in the car park of a revamped supermarket because of concerns over safety.

Work to extend the Sainsbury’s store at the Longwater Retail Park in Costessey, which included a change in design of the car park and alteration of road layout, resulted in First stopping its buses from picking up passengers from the car park.

Concerns about the work, which was carried out at the end of last year, centred on the narrowness of the bus access roads and distance from the bus stop to the store.

But since pulling out of the car park earlier this year, First has since had a “positive” meeting with Norfolk County Council and contractors working on behalf of the store, leading to hopes that the 16/19A services might be restored.

A spokesman for the bus company said: “We attended a very positive meeting with Norfolk County Council and contractors working on behalf of Sainsbury’s.

“Revised plans for the bus route through the car park are close to being finalised, following our concerns about safety.

“We will continue to work with Norfolk County Council and Sainsbury’s during their development plans to ensure this service can be restored to its original route.”

A spokesman for Norfolk Buswatch, a campaign group which has previously raised concerns about the new car park layout, said: “We’re very pleased to hear that regular bus services will once again be able to serve Sainsbury’s newly-revamped Longwater store.

“This store has had a positive reputation over many years for providing the local community with good public transport to its store and we are delighted that this is now set to continue.”

The Evening News contacted Sainsbury’s but no-one was available for comment.

A spokesman for the store had said previously they were “disappointed” First had suspended its service but were keen to discuss the situation with them.

The expansion, which resulted in the store being closed for a period at the end of November last year, created 120 part-time and full-time jobs at the store which means it now has homeware and home entertainment departments, a pizza bar, TU clothing range and environmentally-friendly toilets.

Have you got a story? Call Peter Walsh on 01603 772436.

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