Cycle lane decision for city road comes down to casting vote

The Ipswich Road in Norwich near to City College, looking toward the city centre. Picture: DENISE B

Cycle lanes will be installed in Ipswich Road - but not for the distance some councillors hoped. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

New cycle lanes are to be installed in a Norwich road - but they will not stretch as far as local councillors hoped.

In October, a string of changes to the city's Ipswich Road were agreed as part of a £100,000 Transport for Norwich scheme.

That included cutting the speed limit to 20mph and replacing an existing pedestrian island with a zebra crossing.

But another part of the changes - for segregated, mandatory cycle lanes - was put on hold so further talks could be held, including with City College Norwich and Town Close School.

Town Close School said it was not against the scheme, but had concerns about the loss of parking spaces, with younger children using the Ipswich Road entrance.

City College Norwich was concerned cycle lanes could be blocked by parents dropping children off at the school and some could try to use the college's forecourt as a drop off point.

The council came up with two options. One for cycle lanes on both sides all the way from Harford Manor School to the Stephens Road junction.

The other was for the lane on the Town Close School side to only stretch from the Cecil Road junction to St Stephens Road.

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While the first option would see the removal of parking bays, the second would retain some.

Labour councillors Ian Stutely and Emma Corlett, who represent Town Close on the city and county council, backed the longer cycle lanes at a meeting of the Transport for Norwich joint committee.

Councillor Emma Corlett

Labour county councillor Emma Corlett. - Credit: Archant

Ms Corlett said it was "not unreasonable" to expect parents to use park and ride and walk their children at least some of the way to school.

But Conservative members voted for the shorter cycle lane option.

South Norfolk district councillor Kay Mason-Billig, who represents Loddon and Chedgrave, said: "We need to accept parents going to Town Close often have to drive. Most of them do not live very locally to the school."

Kay Mason Billig with a new sweeper

South Norfolk councillor Kay Mason Billig. - Credit: Archant

The decision to go with reduced length lanes came down to Martin Wilby, Conservative chairman of the committee, after a four votes to four tie on the issue.

Afterwards, Ms Corlett said: "He and his fellow out-of-Norwich Tories have imposed a scheme that is not wanted by residents and in our view makes it less safe for cyclists and pedestrians."

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