Budget cuts hit Norwich road safety schemes

The lack of cash available for road safety improvements in Norwich this year has been laid bare after a number of campaigners pushing for schemes were told there was no money available.

Norfolk County Council has made �2m available for what are known as capital improvement projects in 2011/12, of which just �205,000 has been made available for Norwich City Council to spend in the city.

The Norwich highways agency committee, which is made up of city and county councillors, has agreed to spend �155,000 of that money on a number of schemes, including signal improvements at the junction of Newmarket Road and Eaton Road and on speed cushions on the approach to the zebra crossing on Constitution Hill in the north of the city.

As reported in the Evening News, the committee ditched plans to ban right turns from Newmarket Road into Leopold Road, which has freed up �50,000. A future meeting will decide where that cash is spent.

But that will be cold comfort to campaigners who have already been told by council officers that the schemes they say are calling for are unlikely to get funding any time soon.

At a recent council meeting, petitions and questions were raised about a string of schemes and the response from council officers on each of them was much the same - that there was no cash for the projects.

A 70-signature petition was handed in by Lucy Galvin, the Green party candidate for Wensum ward in the May city council elections, calling for a crossing in Hellesdon Road near the junction with Hellesdon Hall Road. She said: 'At the moment there is no safe place to cross the road and cars travel very fast around the bend, making it dangerous for people living in the area.'

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But Joanne Deverick, transportation manager, said: 'I will arrange for a survey there this summer, but I would caution that we have 35 requests for such crossings and the budget is severely reduced compared to what it has been.'

Stephen Little, Green city and county councillor for Town Close ward, presented a petition from families in Essex Street, off Unthank Road, calling for 'necessary measures' to prevent dangerous driving and speeding there, but was told there was no money allocated in the budget at all for speed management.

Families in Thorpe Park were left disappointed when plans approved last November for a controlled parking zone in Thorpe Road, Crome Road and Denmark Road, were put on hold.

At the meeting they hoped to convince the council officers to make at least some money available.

While they were told that might be 'a possibility' it would depend on future discussions.

And Ms Deverick, in response to a question from Kenneth Tickle about making the junction of Recreation Road and The Avenues safer, said there 'simply isn't funds available'.

• Have you started a petition to get something done where you live? Tell us about it by calling reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk