One way streets and road closures mooted in Norwich shake-up
- Credit: Norfolk County Council
Fresh details of a major shake-up for traffic in Norwich city centre have been revealed - with further road closures and one way streets proposed.
Consultation starts today (Monday, July 12) on a series of connected projects which would see millions spent on schemes for pedestrians and cyclists to improve the Norwich Lanes.
Some of the proposed projects, collectively called 'Connecting the Norwich Lanes', had already been revealed.
That included looking to make the temporary restrictions in St Benedicts and Exchange Street permanent, but further details have now been announced.
New proposals include removing the taxi rank from outside The Guildhall and moving it to St Peter's Street/Bethel Street, near City Hall.
That is because traffic, except delivery vehicles and blue badge holders, would be banned from Gaol Hill.
With proposals to prevent all but delivery traffic using Exchange Street. taxis and other vehicles will no longer be able to go down that street, although a contraflow for cyclists would be created.
Delivery vehicles would have to turn left at the end, as St Andrews Street would become one way, with traffic only able to head westbound and then down Duke Street.
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£1.1m would be spent to widen footpaths in St Andrews Street, plant trees and install a two-way cycle track.
St Peters Street would be made one way southbound, while a section of Bethel Street from St Peters Street to the Forum car park would also be one way.
Current one-way systems in Muspole Street and Upper Goat Lane would be reversed, while there would be no left hand turns allowed from Duke Street into St Mary's Plain.
Council leaders say the changes will mean improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, improve air quality and boost businesses by providing more opportunities for outdoor dining at cafes and restaurants.
Officers say they are confident that a £330,000 revamp for Grapes Hill roundabout will mean the changes to city centre roads will not lead to jams.
Other proposals, already publicised, include:
A £1.8m bridge between Duke Street and St Georges Street to fill the final missing link in the city centre section of the River Wensum path.
A £1.75m scheme to widen footways, plant trees and provide parking and loading bays on both sides of St Giles Street.
£1m to redesign Upper St Giles to give pedestrians priority, including wider footpaths.
Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, and chair of the Transport for Norwich joint committee said: "'Connecting the Norwich Lanes’ is a programme of measures that aim to make it safer and easier to get around on foot or by bike, support opportunities for outdoor hospitality, boost the local economy and improve air quality.
“All residents and businesses within the area impacted by the proposals have been written to directly and we are also running a wider campaign to raise awareness of the consultation and encourage people to have their say.
“We’ve listened to feedback from stakeholders while the temporary measures on Exchange Street and St Benedict Street have been in place and have sought to address any concerns in what’s been put forward, but this is just one aspect of the overall vision for the area."
Norfolk County Council officers have £32m through the government's Transforming Cities scheme, while some of the projects would be funded through the Active Travel Fund.
But other money would need to be sought through other means, including the Community Infrastructure Levy imposed on developers and the £25m Towns Fund awarded to the city council.
The proposals to make the St Benedicts Street restrictions - temporarily introduced due to the coronavirus pandemic - permanent has prompted a mixed reaction.
Jonty Young, spokesman for Norwich Lanes Association said: "There are some really interesting ideas here and the Norwich Lanes Association certainly hope that as many local businesses, residents and regular visitors to the area, take part in this consultation."
Stefan Gurney, executive director of the Norwich Business Improvement District, said it was a "bold proposal" and urged everyone, especially businesses, to have their say through the consultation.
The consultation, at www.norfolk.gov.uk/norwichlanes, runs for four weeks until Monday, August 9.