Backing for ambitious expansion plans to A11 park and ride hub

Thickthorn Park & Ride. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Thickthorn Park and Ride - Credit: Denise Bradley

Ambitious expansion plans for a park and ride will provide an environmental and economic boost to Norwich city centre, according to business and green experts.

If approved, Norfolk County Council's £2.8m proposals for Thickthorn Park and Ride on the A11, could see it grow thanks to 460 more vehicle spaces made up of 389 standard parking bays, 30 disabled, 10 parent and child, 29 standard electric vehicle spaces and two disabled electric vehicle spaces.

The expansion plans for Thickthorn Park and Ride

The expansion plans for Thickthorn Park and Ride - Credit: Norfolk County Council

It would also include eight coach parking bays, extra motorbike parking, bike storage, Amazon lockers, cycle and pedestrian links and new digital real-time information signs.

The park and ride site currently has 726 spaces and if approved work on the project will start in the autumn to be completed by spring next year.

Stefan Gurney, Executive Director at Norwich BID. Photo: Submitted

Stefan Gurney, Executive Director at Norwich BID. Photo: Submitted - Credit: Archant

Stefan Gurney, executive director of Norwich Business Improvement District, said: "Thickthorn is one of the key transport routes into the city. The delivery of spaces and frequency of park and ride services is vital to the economy of the city centre.

"You have to anticipate the city will continue to grow. We will still have vehicles that need access to the city but the provision of park and ride will remove single occupancy travel."

Asher Minns, executive director of the UK-wide Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

Asher Minns, executive director of the UK-wide Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research - Credit: University of East Anglia

Asher Minns, executive director of the Tyndall Change for Climate Change Research, which has a base at the University of East Anglia, said studies have shown that park and ride services enhanced city centres because people "lingered" and spent more money. 

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He said: "Norwich is perfect for park and ride services because of its geography."

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

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport. - Credit: Simon Parkin

Martin Wilby, chair of the Transport for Norwich joint committee and cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, said: "Introducing more capacity to park and ride at Thickthorn would reduce congestion on this key corridor, particularly as our city grows. It would also improve access to key centres of employment, with the opportunity to support a new service to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital as well as the wider Norwich Research Park area.

"This project represents the options we want to provide for local people and visitors accessing our city in the future, making sure Norwich remains an important destination for tourists and an employment centre of world class research, which will help promote and protect the long-term economic health of the city.”

Thickthorn roundabout facing potential revamp

Motorists driving in and out of the city could see major changes on a major roundabout.

National Highways has put forward multi-million pound proposals for the Thickthorn interchange.

The plans for the changes at Thickthorn Roundabout.

The plans for the changes at Thickthorn Roundabout. - Credit: Highways England

If approved by transport secretary Grant Shapps, the revamp would include a new slip road off the A11 northbound, which will take motorists beneath both roads before rejoining traffic on the A47 heading towards Great Yarmouth - eliminating the need to use the roundabout.

The changes would also see a segregated left-hand turn added to those travelling eastbound on the A47, a new footbridge and a fourth lane on the southern part of the junction.

If it gets the go-ahead, work would start in 2023 and be finished in 2024.