Petition to ditch new bus lane plan gathers pace

Ketts Hill Bakery in Norwich has now gathered 3,000 petition signatures due to fears over proposed n

Ketts Hill Bakery in Norwich has now gathered 3,000 petition signatures due to fears over a proposed new bus lane. Pictured are manager Julie Paul and owner Linda Etheridge - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Thousands of city folk have shown their support for an historic city bakery and a hair salon which fear they will be severely impacted by new council plans.

Ketts Hill Bakery and Paul Kent Hair Studio have collected 3,000 signatures against the county council proposals for a new bus and cycle lane running from Ketts Hill to the roundabout.

The council has said the current proposal will retain convenient parking provision for all customers after a survey observed no long-term parking on the bakery's busiest days.

But Linda Etheridge, co-owner of the bakery, believes a lack of parking would deter customers from visiting the bakery which has existed for more than 250 years.

Ketts Hill Bakery in Norwich has now gathered 3,000 petition signatures due to fears over proposed n

Ketts Hill Bakery owner Linda Etheridge and manager Julie Paul - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Mrs Etheridge, 60, said: "I am just trying everything to save jobs and our shop.

"If you look in the archive books there are plenty of stories about the Ketts bakery and tavern. It's a real talking point and we have tourist groups coming in here but the council are wrecking it." 

Paul Kent, 67, has owned the hair salon next to the bakery for nearly 30 years and had intended to find a buyer for the site and retire. 

Paul Kent from Paul Kents hair studio Norwich has now gathered 3,000 petition signatures with Ketts

Paul Kent from Paul Kent's Hair Studio in Norwich - Credit: Brittany Woodman

But Mr Kent believes the bus lane plans have prevented anyone coming forward and he is now seeking planning permission to convert the salon into a one-bedroom flat.

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He added: "My retirement plans have had to be completely shelved.

Paul Kent from Paul Kents hair studio Norwich has now gathered 3,000 petition signatures with Ketts

Paul Kent's Hair Studio in Norwich - Credit: Brittany Woodman

"It may save 80 seconds at the bottom of the hill but the bus lane will cause chaos for cyclists.

"It's the most ridiculous proposal."

Paul Kent from Paul Kents hair studio Norwich has now gathered 3,000 petition signatures with Ketts

Paul Kent from Paul Kent's Hair Studio in Norwich who has helped gather 3,000 petition signatures with Ketts Hill Bakery against plans for a proposed bus lane - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Paul Martin, commercial manager at First Bus, said: "We are already seeing real benefits for passengers in terms of journey time savings." 

Consultation for the proposals are live on the county council website until January 28.

County councillor Martin Wilby, chairman of the Transport for Norwich Joint Committee, said: "This proposal will put us in a much stronger position to work with bus operators and central government to secure future funding for zero emission buses.

"The Transforming Cities Fund seeks to improve access to employment, education and retail, while tackling issues around air quality and I would encourage everyone to participate in the public consultation."