Chance to have say on �1.5m Norwich bus scheme

Ambitious plans for the first of up to six rapid bus transit routes in Norwich have edged a step nearer – after the public were invited to have their say on the scheme.

Despite the cuts councils are facing, �1.5m has been made available for the first phase of a project, which would create a speedy bus corridor along Dereham Road.

That money is ring-fenced for transport through the Greater Norwich Development Partnership and both city and county councillors are keen to see the scheme get off the ground.

The rapid transit routes aim to encourage bus companies to provide higher quality, faster and more reliable bus services.

Creating the corridors will require a string of improvements, including changes to roads, junctions, bus stops and shelters.

The Dereham Road corridor has been identified as the first of up to six routes to benefit from improvements because of the sheer number of buses which use the busy road – up to 20 an hour at peak times.

Council officers say it also connects to areas such as Longwater, Lodge Farm, Queens Hills and Bowthorpe – where increasing numbers of homes are being built. Among the changes to Dereham Road will be:

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? No right turn for vehicles at the junction of Dereham Road with Old Palace Road heading out of the city or into Heigham Road from cars heading into the city.

? A new 24-hour bus lane from a point just east of Douro Place to the Barn Road junction, for use by buses, cyclists and taxis.

? At the junction of Dereham Road with Grapes Hill, only cycles will be allowed to exit on to the junction from St Benedict's.

? Extra traffic signals at the Dereham Road junction with Barn Road and Grapes Hill to allow buses, taxis and pedal cycles to bypass the queues to reach the junctions ahead of other traffic.

? New cycle lanes and cycle waiting areas at junctions.

? Conversion of the existing bus lane running from near Gurney Road to the outer ring road, from part time to 24-hour use, seven days a week.

? Introduction of high quality bus stops and shelters, with features such as real time information displays.

Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for travel and transport, said: 'Bus Rapid Transit has the potential to transform public transport along the Dereham Road corridor, but to achieve the improvements in journey times, quality and reliability, a number of changes are needed along the route.

'It is very important that we hear from people living in the area and I urge them to make their views known.'

Victoria MacDonald, Norwich City Council cabinet member for the environment, added: 'I am very much behind this proposal and pleased to see it opening for public consultation.'

People can comment by visiting the website at, by emailing or by calling 0344 800 8020.

People can also write to Dereham Road BRT Consultation, Norfolk County Council, County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich NR1 2SG.

The public consultation runs until February 7 and the responses will be taken to the Norwich highways agency committee in the spring.

What do you think? Write to Evening News letters at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, or email