Safety upgrades on roundabout sees traffic fears raised

Potential plans for the Easton roundabout on the edge of Norwich

Potential plans for the Easton roundabout on the edge of Norwich - Credit: Norfolk County Council

One of the city's busiest roundabouts looks set for a major upgrade but has prompted concerns that the move could increase traffic from nearby villages.

Plans to improve safety around the Easton roundabout near the Norfolk Showground and A47 were initially put forward around 2012.

They came as part of the Taylor Wimpey housing development off Dereham Road but were pulled because of Highways England concerns, according to Easton Parish Council member and former chairman Peter Milliken.

And now a decision to take the plan forward is due from the Secretary of State at the end of August, according to a Highways England spokesman.

If approved, the proposal would include the speed limit on the slip roads onto the roundabout off the A47 from the Yarmouth-bound direction and towards Swaffham.

It would also introduce traffic lights and a safe pedestrian crossing on the slip roads, extend the footpath on the slip roads and create a shared cycle and pedestrian footpath by the roundabout and pedestrian footpath on the A47 bridge.

However, the new teardrop-style roundabout would mean traffic coming from Easton to Bawburgh would have to go around the Longwater roundabout on the other side of the A47 flyover before coming back to the Easton side.

Easton Parish Council chairman Peter Milliken.

Easton Parish Council member Peter Milliken - Credit: Denise Bradley

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Mr Milliken said: "You are increasing traffic volume on an already busy roundabout. In peak times that would be dreadful. It is going to cause chaos."

He added the roundabout needed safety improvements and the upgrades were part of a planning condition for the 780-home Persimmon Homes Festival Park development off Dereham Road in Easton, which has started.

Some of the walls of new homes being built on the Festival Park site being developed off Dereham Roa

Some of the walls of new homes being built on the Festival Park site being developed off Dereham Road in Easton by Persimmon Homes Anglia - Credit: Peter Milliken

Mr Milliken said the parish council also wanted safety barriers between the road and proposed paths because it was used by lorries which posed a danger to people in foot.

Costessey Town Council member Gary Blundell who is calling for safety improvements on William Frost

Costessey Town Council vice-chairman Gary Blundell - Credit: Archant

Gary Blundell, vice-chairman of Costessey Town Council, said: "The roundabout needs to be made safer.

"There is no crossing on that roundabout. You take your life into your own hands when you cross the slip road.

"When the Royal Norfolk Show and Sundown Festival are on many adults and children cross it. If it stops one accident that is a bonus."

A Norfolk County Council spokeswoman said: “The Longwater improvement scheme is a requirement of the permitted development at Easton being brought forward by Persimmon Homes.

"The scheme is being designed and delivered by Norfolk County Council, on behalf of the developer who is funding all the work. The council has recently undertaken a walking, cycling and horse riding assessment for the proposed scheme which included consultation with the local community.

“The scheme will provide significant improvements to the junction in particular for pedestrians wishing to access local facilities. It is anticipated that construction of the scheme will begin in the Summer.

"During construction, the council will work closely with National Highways to ensure that any disruption is kept to a minimum.

"Details of any necessary traffic management will be published when available, and in advance of any work getting underway.”