Why are buses driving through the centre of Norwich?

A bus coming up through All Saints Green past John Lewis

A bus coming up through All Saints Green past John Lewis - Credit: Archant

Buses driving down a usually pedestrianised street have caused alarm for folk wandering through the city.

Temporary barriers have sprung up in All Saints Green outside John Lewis. 

The barricades have been put up as buses are being redirected from St Stephens Street which is being revamped as part of the £6.1m works in the Transforming Cities project.

However city folk strolling in the direction of John Lewis have been spotted leaping back in surprise when they unexpectedly see a bus. 

Mark Avrill and Hilary Townsend on the current temporary barriers in All Saints Green

Mark Avrill and Hilary Townsend on the current temporary barriers in All Saints Green - Credit: Dolly Carter

Barista and manager of Strangers Coffee, Giles Hayward-Smith, 54, watches people navigating the barriers from his branch in All Saints Green.

He said: “Buses started shooting down there and some of them speed past at an alarming rate.”

He added he'd like to see additional safety precautions such as a temporary speed limit or speed bumps put in place, adding: “I’d hate for there to be an accident.”

Chris Speed, head of operations at bus operator First Norfolk & Suffolk said: ” Our drivers are aware and are being vigilant in looking out for pedestrians stepping into the roadside. We have not had any reports relating to any incidents or concerns."

Harry Arnold in All Saints Green, Norwich, Norfolk, on buses using the street

Harry Arnold in All Saints Green, Norwich, Norfolk, on buses using the street - Credit: Dolly Carter

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Out and about in Norwich, shopper Hilary Townsend who was visiting from outside the city said the area visibly appeared as though it should only be used by pedestrians. 

The 36-year-old added: "I noticed people checking before crossing but I doubt people will expect traffic to appear."

Meanwhile Harry Arnold, 25, pointed out that there are red signs which read ‘Pedestrians look right/left’ at every crossing point.

He added: "But people don't have the same sense of urgency as there would be if there were temporary traffic lights."

Others insisted the public had adequate notice and should be expecting buses to appear.

Mark Avrill, 60, hails from Caston and said the signs and barriers are “definitely clear enough”.

However he added there should be more lighting in the evenings.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “We have not received any reports of speeding buses in this area but we will share the concerns raised with local operators.

“The safety barriers are there to deter people from stepping out into the road and we will continue to monitor the temporary measures in place as works progress.”

John Lewis store in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

John Lewis store in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020