What a racket! Disruption as roadworks take place in city

Roadworks taking place in King Street have disrupted businesses such as NDB Autos 

Roadworks taking place in King Street have disrupted businesses such as NDB Autos - Credit: Ben Hardy

Businesses and homeowners are suffering constant drilling as roadworks take place on their doorstep in the city.

As part of the Transport for Norwich project, the county council is narrowing King Street to promote more cycling and walking.

The county council had initially drawn up plans for a contraflow cycle lane southbound from the city centre for consultation.

Metal fencing and barriers have been erected in King Street in front of homes as workmen with diggers carry out the work. 

Nigel Bence, owner of NDB Autos, in King Street, said: "It has been having an impact in terms of inconvenience. We can be held up 15 to 20 minutes at a time when they are loading rubble into a narrow street.

Nigel Bence, owner of NDB Autos, with his son Chris who run the father and son business in King Street

Nigel Bence, owner of NDB Autos, with his son Chris who run the father and son business in King Street - Credit: Ben Hardy

"People have definitely found it hard accessing the garage.

"I will be interested to see what comes to fruition. The people living opposite have complained about a lot of noise during the day. 

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"The noise of those grinders is immense."

The businessman of nearly 50 years added that the team leader of the project had been "amicable" in allowing workmen to squeeze in and out to access the garage. 

Imogen Munn, marketing and sales assistant of Bicycle Links, in King Street, said: "We cycle into work so it does not affect us in terms of the shop but there has been less footfall and less cars being able to come down here." 

Rob Harber and Imogen Mann of Bicycle Links in King Street 

Rob Harber and Imogen Mann of Bicycle Links in King Street - Credit: Ben Hardy

Rob Harber, stall manager of Bicycle Links, added that footfall is typically down at this time of the year anyway and believes the proposed changes will be good for the area.

"Anything that makes people cycle or walk more is better than there being too many cars gridlocking the city," Mr Harber added. 

A 33-year-old woman, who moved into King Street a month ago and did not wish to be named, said she is in support of the long-term plans despite the current noise levels.

A road closure sign for the works in King Street

A road closure sign for the works in King Street - Credit: Ben Hardy

She said: "I would actually love it if the whole street was pedestrianised but I welcome a cycle lane." 

The county council informed businesses about the works by sending letters.

Barriers in front of homes in King Street 

Barriers in front of homes in King Street - Credit: Ben Hardy

What will the works mean for King Street? 

The county council carried out an initial consultation for the plans to convert King Street in March 2020. 

After reviewing the feedback, the authority proposed a simplified scheme which includes footpath widening and road narrowing along the length of King Street.

Works taking place in King Street 

Work taking place in King Street - Credit: Ben Hardy

A statement on the council's website says: "The aim is to create an environment where more people choose to walk and cycle, reducing the dominance of space allocated for motor vehicles." 

Following further consultation in January the revised plans went before members of the Transforming Cities Joint Committee in March 2021 where councillors approved the scheme for construction.

Roadworks taking place in King Street to widen the pavement 

Roadworks taking place in King Street to widen the pavement - Credit: Ben Hardy

The first phase of the works were expected to be completed this month after beginning in June. The county council has been contacted for an update on the progress. 

It forms part of the Transport for Norwich project, in which the government awarded £32m funding from the Transforming Cities Fund to deliver a range of schemes across the city.

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