'Not worth it!': Councillor wants new bus lane ditched

District and county councillor Shelagh Gurney next to the bus lane on A140 Cromer Road, Hellesdon

District and county councillor Shelagh Gurney next to the bus lane on A140 Cromer Road, Hellesdon - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

A councillor has hit out at a new £400,000 bus lane which has caused "significant disruption" to the area.

Despite more than 450 people voting against the plans in Aylsham Road and Cromer Road at a consultation, Norfolk County Council decided to push ahead with the project to quicken bus journeys.

The plans, which were funded through the government's £32 million transforming cities fund, is said to save about "three minutes" on a trip into the city.

But amid anger from neighbours, Shelagh Gurney, Norfolk county and Broadland district councillor for Hellesdon, and Lacey Douglass, parish councillor for Hellesdon, launched a petition to reduce the bus lane's operating hours to peak periods only.

"I've had so many complaints," Ms Gurney said. "It's not worth the disruption for just three minutes quicker bus journeys."

Ms Gurney added some of the issues experienced have included car crashes, buses mounting the pavement to use the lane and problems for people accessing driveways.

Shelagh Gurney. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Shelagh Gurney. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Archant

She hopes by reducing the operating hours to Monday to Saturday from 7.30am to 9.30am it will lead to a "safer environment".

She added: "This will mean a smoother running of one of the main roads into Norwich during the day and a safer environment for people to use whether in their own vehicles or on foot."

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport.

Councillor Martin Wilby, chairman of the Transport for Norwich joint committee - Credit: Simon Parkin

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But councillor Martin Wilby, chairman of the Transport for Norwich joint committee, said: “Currently, neither the council nor the police have had any formal reports of road traffic collisions in this area.

"This particular project is already reducing bus journey times along this important route with minimal impact on general traffic and has received very positive feedback from the bus operators.

"By improving sustainable transport in this way, we are delivering on the aims at the heart of our government-funded transforming cities programme of work, which was agreed by the council’s cabinet in 2020."

Paul Martin, commercial manager at bus firm First Eastern Counties, added: “The new bus lane on Aylsham Road is consistently delivering time savings for our passengers and is proving to be a huge benefit in improving the punctuality on our Purple Line services that operate across the city."