Transport top of the agenda at public meeting on Norwich’s future

Future of Norwich debate held at The Forum in Norwich. PIC: Peter Walsh

Future of Norwich debate held at The Forum in Norwich. PIC: Peter Walsh - Credit: Archant

Improving public transport in Norwich was a key issue for people who attended a public meeting about the future of the city.

More than 80 people packed into the auditorium at The Forum on Tuesday night, when the Norwich Society hosted a public debate about the future of Norwich.

The debate centred around the Norwich Society's recent The Future of Norwich City Centre report and the Norwich Evening News' week-long special focus on what the city might look like in the coming years.

Paul Burrell, chair of the Norwich Society's strategic, planning and transport committee, introduced the debate and said he hoped its report would promote both 'debate and discussion'.

Mr Burrell said that as well as being a fine city in terms of its heritage, Norwich had more than 3,000 scientists working here and a lively business offering.

He talked about suggestions put forward in the Norwich Society's report, including a tram link between the hospital and the University of East Anglia (UEA) and reducing pollution with the help of innovations like electric vehicles.

Mr Burrell said we were still 'in an age of austerity', but said we needed to plan for future requirements to ensure we were ready to implement changes.

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Public transport was a major talking point for those who attended the event.

Ian Couzens, former leader of Norwich City Council, said there needed to be a 'step change' in the public transport system in Norwich 'to bring people into the city centre'.

His comments were echoed by others in attendance, including one member of the audience who bemoaned the early finishing times of a lot of the buses which meant people were not able to get into the city later to enjoy what was on offer.

Carol Cooper, who had just returned from Adelaide, said the city could learn much from their public transport system, which was a 'great thing'.

Other issues discussed included pedestrians in the city being impeded by both cyclists and traffic, the need for a concert hall in the city and bigger hotels.

But with many of these proposals likely to take years before they came to fruition, there was also a call for younger people to have get involved and have their say.

You can see our stories looking at the future of Norwich here.