Council back at drawing board on changes to busy Norwich street

An artist's impression of how St Stephens Street could look if a proposed revamp goes ahead. Pic: No

An artist's impression of how St Stephens Street could look if a proposed revamp goes ahead. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Proposals to improve a Norwich bus artery are to be revisited following safety concerns raised by residents and campaign groups.

Through Norwich’s ‘Transforming Cities’ fund, £6.1 million of government cash has been mooted for spending on revamping the busy St Stephen’s Street.

But at a Thursday meeting of the council’s joint committee for the fund, councillors agreed more work was needed before any plans were set in stone.

The scheme would see a jagged pavement to create new ‘sawtooth' bus bays along the street, which a council report says would make it easier for buses to pull away after picking up or dropping off passengers.

A consultation on the proposals in September and October produced 130 responses. 49% of respondents objected to the proposals, 46% supported them and 5% did not answer the question. 

A £4.8m scheme could speed up buses in St Stephens Street. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN

A £4.8m scheme could speed up buses in St Stephens Street. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant


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While the sawtooth arrangement was welcomed by bus operators, the Norwich Cycling Campaign opposed the changes, arguing that the street would become more dangerous for cyclists. 

“At best, clearly, opinion is divided on this particular scheme.” said councillor Brian Watkins.

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“It’s very important that the comments made by the Norwich Cycling Campaign are acted upon before this scheme gets off the ground, if indeed it does get off the ground.” added Mr Watkins.

Transport for Norwich manager Jeremy Wiggin said in response that the council was working with national cycle charity Sustrans on reviewing all their schemes.

Mr Wiggin added: “We’ve taken this opportunity to take a pause, reflect on what feedback we’ve had, and where we can take these proposals going forward, and then bring it back to a future meeting.”

Councillor Mike Stonard pointed out that time to firm the plans up was running out.

“Clearly this is going to be quite complex. It’s going to be perhaps quite time-consuming, so I’m concerned about the timescale. We’ve got to spend this money within a particular period of time.”

Mr Wiggin responded: “We’ll bring this back to the committee at the earliest possible time, because we have until March 23. That [date] will soon get here, and we need to be delivering schemes like this well in advance of that.”

The committee also agreed to consult the public on plans to improve King Street, St Stephen’s Road, South Park Avenue & Unthank Road, and Cromer & Aylsham Roads.

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