The boss of one of Norwich's most recognisable buildings has appealed for help to avoid traffic chaos after the contentious pedestrianisation of a city centre road.

Traffic heading into St Giles Street and Bethel Street, next to The Forum, ground to a halt repeatedly across the Christmas period last year as Norfolk County Council's highways team employed traffic marshals to enforce the closure of Exchange Street.

These traffic jams continue to occur at peak periods throughout the year, leading to long queues of standstill vehicles.

Norwich Evening News: Gridlocked traffic outside The Forum earlier this monthGridlocked traffic outside The Forum earlier this month (Image: The Forum)

READ MORE: Fines for drivers on pedestrianised Exchange Street

Now the head of The Forum is calling for action in the hopes to put a stop to the gridlock.

Chief executive of The Forum, Tim Bishop, said: "We warned highways before the closure that unless it took further action, or were prepared to open up Exchange Street at peak periods, chaos would result - and it did.

"At peak periods traffic dammed St Giles and back up through Bethel Street to the Chapelfield roundabout. 

Norwich Evening News: Chief executive of The Forum, Tim BishopChief executive of The Forum, Tim Bishop (Image: The Forum)

"It meant cars could not get in or out, so vehicles careered through the Lanes and mounted pavements to try to beat the queues - leading to frayed tempers and gridlock.

"It's completely predictable and preventable, but if nothing is done it leaves the police and people in the area struggling to cope with the inevitable shambles.

"Unless something is done it's going to happen again and again."

Norwich Evening News: Exchange Street, near The Forum, was closed to motorised traffic in 2020Exchange Street, near The Forum, was closed to motorised traffic in 2020 (Image: Newsquest)

READ MORE: 'Approximately 60 fines' handed out to Exchange Street drivers

The pedestrianisation of Exchange Street has proved contentious since it was closed to motorised traffic in 2020, with a number of flashpoints.

Norwich Police said recently that it was left with no choice but to start fining motorists who drive down the road, with "approximately 60 fines" handed out in the last five weeks.

Mr Bishop added: "This is being done in the name of a more environmentally friendly city but the queues were surely far more environmentally damaging than the alternative.

"We need a solution or these issues will escalate, potentially damaging both the environment and city centre shops, market traders and other businesses."