Future of park and ride remains in doubt as Covid testing contract ends
- Credit: Mike Page
The future of a key piece of public transport infrastructure hangs in the balance with questions raised about its economic viability.
Postwick park and ride near Broadland Business Park and the NDR used to have Konectbus services running to and from Norwich city centre up until 2020.
Then the Norfolk County Council-owned site was used as a Covid testing site during the pandemic.
But the Department of Health and Social Care lease ends on August 2, according to county council leader Andrew Proctor who addressed Brundall Parish Council on July 25.
Mr Proctor, who represents Blofield and Brundall for the Conservatives, told parish councillors the park and ride tender for Postwick and the other four sites around Norwich would be put out around March 2023 ahead of the end of the Konectbus contract in September.
Brundall councillors and Broadland District Council Green Party member Eleanor Laming want answers from the lead authority on how the 1,000-space site will be used in the future if park and ride buses are dropped.
Mr Proctor told the meeting: "The issue of Postwick has always been lower numbers compared to the other four sites. Projections are it is not likely to reach 25pc of pre-Covid usage so it does make it a difficult position to open."
He added the reopening of Postwick would cost the council an extra £200,000 on top of the £500,000 it has put into the overall park and ride operation.
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The leader warned: "Unless things ramp up quickly it is not going to be reopened."
Mr Proctor believed fewer passengers were using park and ride because of working from home.
Mrs Laming said: "It is a disaster. We need to be promoting active travel. This is going in the wrong direction. If it is vacated by park and ride what will it be used for?"
She added one idea for the site would be a bus service from Brundall area into the city taking in Postwick.
Parish council members suggested there should be a joined approach in terms of the future of the site from county, Broadland and Norwich City Council and it could be used as a park and ride during peak times including Christmas shopping.