Norwich city centre traffic marshals hailed a success

Sarah HallTransport bosses have hailed the success of a scheme which used police-accredited civilians to marshal traffic around Norwich - and urged other organisers to make use of them.Sarah Hall

Transport bosses have hailed the success of a scheme which used police-accredited civilians to marshal traffic around Norwich - and urged other organisers to make use of them.

Norfolk County Council used the civilian traffic marshals over Christmas to manage traffic heading into Norwich over the festive period, the second year they have done so.

The traffic marshals are employed by Eventguard, which is part of the Norfolk County Council-owned Norse group, and are accredited under the Police Reform Act 2002.

That means anyone who disobeys their directions commits an offence and can be reported to the police.

It cost �21,000 for the marshals to direct traffic around Norwich at Christmas, with �7,000 coming from Chapelfield shopping centre while Norfolk police, First Eastern Counties and Norwich City Council supported the scheme.

Laurie Egan, network manager for Norfolk County Council, said in the report: 'There was noticeably less conflict with drivers than last year and this is due in no small measure to the attitude of the Eventguard team.

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'A difficulty raised by the traffic marshals is that they are unable to engage in conversation while they are trying to move them on.

'This frustrates motorists and is regrettable but unavoidable as the reason for the deployment is to keep traffic moving.'

Officers recommend that other organisations make use of the marshals for private events and point out one high profile event without an agreed event traffic management plan is Norwich City Football Club home games.

Traffic on the roads around Carrow Road used to be held up by police after games to make it safer for fans, but that has not happened this season with the council and club at loggerheads over who should foot the bill.

Adrian Gunson, cabinet member for planning and transportation at Norfolk County Council, said: 'The use of traffic marshals has certainly helped keep traffic flowing in Norwich in the last two busy Christmas shopping periods.

'Nobody benefits if traffic becomes grid-locked, and generally drivers have understood that they might be waved on and have complied with good grace.

'It is quite likely that they will be deployed in King's Lynn for the first time this year, and I hope that shoppers there will also recognise that it is in their own interests that traffic flows freely.'

The same council meeting, on Wednesday will also look at the role of highway and community rangers - which have been tried in 33 parishes in the south of the county to provide more flexible and responsive routine maintenance service that includes more 'street scene' jobs, and gives parishes more opportunity to request work to be carried out.

The panel is being asked for its views on the development of the highway and community rangers across the whole county.

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