�1.1m Norwich road shake-up decision delayed

An ambitious �1.1m scheme which would see a major shake-up to a string of key Norwich city centre bus routes has been put on hold.

In May, planners at Norwich City Council outlined how they wanted to change traffic flows in a number of streets, including making Chapel Field North two-way, new bus stops in Theatre Street and Red Lion Street, with the thinking that it would reduce the number of buses using St Stephens Street.

The blueprint, called Making Room: St Stephens Street Area, is part of the Norwich Area Transportation Strategy implementation plan and would cost a total of �1.14m. Just under �190,000 for the project has come from contributions from developers, �332,000 from the government growth point fund and �120,000 from the county council's local transport plan.

It was hoped the final �500,000 would come from a bid to the government's Local Sustainable Transport Fund, but local councils have been told they will have to wait to find out if that cash will be made available.

Ben Webster, design, conservation and landscape manager at Norwich City Council, said: 'The county council submitted a bid for the funding to the Department for Transport, which included this scheme and some others around the county.

'The DfT said they could not have the money now, but that the bid should be resubmitted in February and then they will make a decision.' Members of Norwich Highways Agency Committee, made up of city and county councillors, had previously agreed to put the scheme out for consultation. But Mr Webster said: 'We have held back on the public consultation until we get a decision on the funding. It is frustrating but we have to wait.'

He added the other money set aside for the scheme was still earmarked for it, pending next year's decision.

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One of the main proposals involves making Chapel Field North two-way, with a number of bus routes which currently use St Stephens Street re-routed along Chapel Field North. Bus companies have already advised the council which buses they would re-route, with First services 16, 19/20, 25/35 and 28 switching to Chapel Field North from St Stephens. Konectbus has indicated its number 5 services would move. The plan would mean Chapel Field North would be widened, there would be two new entrances to Chapelfield Gardens and changes to the Grapes Hill roundabout.

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