Controversial bus lanes to project delays: Five updates on Norwich transport plans

The new bus lane in Aylsham Road which is causing concern for businesses along there

The new bus lane in Aylsham Road which is causing concern for businesses along there - Credit: Steve Adams

Reviews into controversial bus lanes, project delays and Beryl Bikes for people with disabilities were among the city transport updates heard by councillors.

At a meeting on Thursday, councillors on the Transport for Norwich Committee received updates on projects put in place across the city.

Norwich received £32m from the government's Transforming Cities Fund and has a finite time in which to spend the cash.

Projects already delivered include an overhaul of Grapes Hill roundabout and a controversial bus lane in Hellesdon.

Here are five updates from the committee:

Bus lane review

Officers promise a review into the controversial Cromer Road and Aylsham Road bus lanes, which have seen concerns from Labour and Conservative politicians.

Conservative Barry Stone welcomed the review, he said: “I got a good ear bashing from a couple of local councillors saying that they regard that scheme as having problems.  

“One of the major issues seems to be that the bus lane isn’t wide enough and was being shared with cyclists. I’m pleased that will be reviewed.

Jeremy Wiggin, Transport for Norwich manager, said the scheme was working "very very well" and no incidents have been reported due to the width of the road.

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The review is expected in a few weeks' time

Project delays 

Liberal Democrat councillor Brian Watkins asked if all the 31 projects set to be delivered by the committee by the March 2023 deadline.

Mr Wiggin said he expected eight to 10 schemes to over run and officer will be discussing with the government to get a year's extension.

He did not say which projects would be delayed.

St Stephen's roadworks

Labour city councillor Ian Stutely questioned if the St Stephen’s works were going to plan, saying there “does not seem to be a great deal of activity at the minute”. 

Mr Wiggin said the works were on schedule but could not give a final date for completion but early to mid-autumn is expected. 

Beryl Bikes

Conservative Lisa Neal called for more options for people with disabilities and balance problems to be rolled out in the future.

Mr Wiggin said: “We have spoken with Beryl about the opportunity to bring adapted bikes onto the network so they can also be hired out. 

“There is an opportunity but what we would have to look at is that there are a number of different adapted bikes depending on what different people’s needs are so we would have to look carefully at the most appropriate bike or bikes to put in place.” 

Mr Wiggin also said around 30pc of Beryl Scooter journeys were replacing one that would have previously been in a car.

Inflation pressure

Mr Watkins also asked if inflation - which for highways work he said was around 20pc - would stop projects from being delivered.

Mr Wiggin said costs had increased but insisted they were currently within budget.