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'It's a nightmare from about tea time onwards' - what it's like to live where the NDR has increased traffic

PUBLISHED: 06:30 24 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:39 24 April 2019

The final stretch of the NDR (Broadland Northway), between Wroxham Road and Postwick opened in April 2018. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The final stretch of the NDR (Broadland Northway), between Wroxham Road and Postwick opened in April 2018. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

People living in Norfolk villages have hit out at a rise in traffic and rat-running, after figures revealed significant increases since the Norwich Northern Distributor Road opened.

But other communities have welcomed the way the 12.5 mile road, now known as the Broadland Northway, has made their roads quieter by removing traffic.

They were reacting after new figures revealed the impact the £205m road has had on other roads in the area.

When Norfolk County Council was planning the road, officers said it should reduce traffic on some streets in and around Norwich. They say on the majority of sites monitored traffic has been reduced.

But there were always concerns it could lead to more vehicles travelling down other roads - and so monitoring of a string of sites has proved

Council leaders have said that is precisely why they want to build a Western Link, connecting the NDR from the A1067 Fakenham Road to the A47 to the west of Norwich.

There were notable increases in Hockering and Weston Longville, near Dereham, with streets in both villages making up six of the top 10 largest hikes.

Stone Road in Hockering saw a traffic increase of more than 45pc, comparing October/November 2015 to October/November 2018, while Lyng Road saw an increase of just under 32pc and Heath Road saw a 10pc rise.

Mike, a resident who lives on Heath Road but did not want to give a surname, said: “I would say that I have noticed a significant increase in traffic.

Residents of Heath Road, Hockering have hit out at an increase in traffic on their road. Picture: ArchantResidents of Heath Road, Hockering have hit out at an increase in traffic on their road. Picture: Archant

“While the 7.5 tonne limit is obeyed by most HGVs there are still a lot of vehicles that go down this road.

“There are some which come into the village for building and development but if that were the case for all of them then Hockering is the most busy village in Norfolk for that kind of thing.

“Until the council comes up with a definitive answer as to where they are going to put the link road it will continue.”

Angus Fleming, 63, has lived on Heath Road for 30 years. He said: “There is now a weight limit for HGVs which is better. There are cars which speed which is a problem.

“A link road would make a difference. The roads around here aren't wide enough for the volume of traffic using them.”

Residents of Woodforde Close in Weston Longville have also hit out at the amount of vehicles using their road.

Eugene Charlier, 65, has lived on the street for 12 years and said: “It's just like living on a main road, cars speed and it's a huge problem. It just gets worse.”

Mark Flanders, 50, has lived there for 10 years and said: “It's a nightmare from about tea time onwards. The traffic has increased a lot over the time I have lived here.”

But two of the villages which have seen the most dramatic reductions in traffic following the full opening of the NDR a year ago are Great and Little Plumstead.

Part of Broad Lane was closed to through traffic through the NDR scheme, so traffic flow over the railway line plunged by 94.7pc - the few vehicles which still use it do so for access to a handful of properties.

Church Road and Toad Lane have also seen big decreases of 37.3pc and 27.3pc - and people in the villages were pleased that less traffic now passes through.

Laura Bennett-Beck, who works in Foxy Hair and Beauty in Salhouse Road, Little Plumstead, said the NDR had definitely helped cut traffic.

She said: “I have really noticed a difference. We've been able to keep the door open in the summer because we don't have that noise from the traffic anymore.

“I think people had been using our roads as a bit of a rat-run. We still get the odd ones, but it's nowhere near what it was.”

She said, despite less traffic, it had not had an impact on the salon. She said: “If anything, it's made it easier for people to get here because we have clients who come from all over and the NDR has made it easier for people to get around.

“One of the staff lives in the Taverham area and she can now get to work here in half the time and she was saying that they'd made the NDR just for her!”

Great Plumstead, one of the villages where traffic has decreased following the opening of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road. Pic: Dan GrimmerGreat Plumstead, one of the villages where traffic has decreased following the opening of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road. Pic: Dan Grimmer

Edward Hill, general manager of Kestrel Kitchens in Great Plumstead, was similarly enthusiastic about the benefits the NDR had brought.

He said: “I think it's been good for us as it's given us easier access to north Norfolk and west Norfolk, while we're also now better linked to the A47 to Great Yarmouth.

“It is saving us a lot of travel time, because we don't have to go in and out of Norwich again. It's also made it easier for our customers from those parts to get to us.

“I would say it has been a positive thing for us in the area.”

Karen Betts (left) and Laura Bennett-Beck (right), who work at Foxy Hair and Beauty in Little Plumstead. Pic: Dan Grimmer.Karen Betts (left) and Laura Bennett-Beck (right), who work at Foxy Hair and Beauty in Little Plumstead. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

However, another person in the village was less keen - “all it's good for is getting to the airport” - while others remained critical of the design of the roundabouts, saying they still left drivers confused about which lane they were supposed to be in.

Away from the Plumsteads, another major drop was Hall Lane near Drayton, which saw a 52pc fall in traffic.

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